Experts Speak

  • June 29, 2017
    Modi-Trump Meet – amidst Modi's 3-Nation Tour
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Donald Trump on June 26. Modi's US trip starting June 25 was part of his three-nation tour commencing with Portugal.

  • June 23, 2017
    New Indigenous Bullet Proof Jacket for Forces
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    In an article titled 'Bullet Resistant Vests' in April this year, it was reported in these columns that Amrita University, Coimbatore is offering highly advanced technology bullet proof jackets (BPJs) and the proposal titled "Development of Hyper Velocity...

  • June 23, 2017
    Trial of another Assault Rifle – and the missing carbine
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

    Media had reported in July 2016 that the Army had junked DRDO's 5.56mm Excalibur assault rifle. Resultantly, Army's quest for a state-of-the-art assault rifles was extended – fresh equipping taking minimum seven-eight years as per informed...

  • June 23, 2017
    QCG - flogging the dead horse?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    The Pakistani media is upbeat with the news that Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to continue with the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) established for talks with the Taliban in order to bring them into the reconciliation process. Obviously, Pakistan wanted to show some sort of diplomatic 'victory' after Chinese President Xi Jinping snubbed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by not granting him te customary meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan...

  • June 8, 2017
    Indian Army in Limelight
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

    The Indian Army continues to be an institution that is loved and respected by the nation and its people. Let us not drag this fine institution in to politics and controversy.

  • June 8, 2017
    PM Modi's 4-nation tour
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on his four nation tour to Germany, Spain, Russia and France on May 29, it was reported that his main focus would be bilateral cooperation on economic (in backdrop of India having passed GST Bill and record FDI inflows of $43.5 billion during 2016-17), defence, science and technology, and nuclear fronts, parleys on EU-India Free Trade Agreement, and fight against terror.

  • June 8, 2017
    Army Division to Afghanistan – hoax or perception building?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Word by word Identical reports from Washington, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India are talking about India planning to send 15,000 troops to Afghanistan – as is a press release has been issued by someone.

  • June 8, 2017
    Pakistan's info war
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Why Pakistan's information war succeeds in India is not only because of exploitation of communications and social media and is using the religious card in Kashmir Valley, but it also has a cross-section of pro-Pakistan lobby in India. After some Hurriyat leaders openly admitted to have taken money from Pakistan to stoke unrest in Kashmir Valley, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided 26 places across Kashmir, Delhi and Haryana, recovering letterheads of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), laptops, mobile phones...

  • June 8, 2017
    DGQA – Knotted within and insensitive to troops
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As per media reports over 16,000 GPS units purchased for the Army are lying idle in the Central Ordnance Depot at Agra, reportedly on grounds of 'quality concerns'. This has been the state for over one year despite Rs 28 crores spent on their purchase, since the Army cannot use them until a final quality assurance is given.

  • June 8, 2017
    Another giant leap with GSLV Mk III
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    When India fired the high thrust cryogenic engine CE-20 launching GSLV Mk-III in its first experimental flight from Sriharikota on june 5, it was a monumental leap drawing the curtain on what the US sanctions prevented ISRO from doing in 2003, even as the US seeks strong ties with India in wake of all round Chinese aggression.

  • May 30, 2017
    Strategic Partnership Model – Game changer?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    On May 20, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley finalized the broad contours of the Strategic Partnership (SP) policy.

  • May 30, 2017
    New Defence Procurement Organization
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    According to recent media reports, government is mulling setting up a new autonomous organization, 'Defence Procurement Organization' (DPO), to be created within the MoD to deal exclusively with procurement for the Armed Forces as recommended by a committee headed by Dr Pritam Singh, former Director of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow.

  • May 30, 2017
    Ransomware – Beware!
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    WannaCry or WannaCry 2.0 the ransomware that struck globally some 150 countries last month affected some 200,000 PCs worldwide. India was the third hardest hit county with close to 50,000 PCs affected.

  • May 30, 2017
    Empowering DIPP – or weakening defence?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Considerable confusion prevails about whether the proposed Defence Procurement Organization (DPO), as a follow up to the Dr Pritam Singh Committee recommendations, is to be 'all encompassing' in matters of defence procurement, which it actually should be. But this confusion appears to have been compounded through a recent notification (Notification S.O. 1636 (E) dated 19.05.2017 of Ministry of Home Affairs) vide which the power to issue licenses for the manufacture...

  • May 30, 2017
    Next level Cyber War
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The news about IAF's Sukhoi SU-30 gone missing near India-China border has been making headlines. The Sukhoi had taken off on a routine training mission on 23 May 2017 when radar, radio contact was lost roughly 60 km north of Tezpur air force base in Assam.

  • May 25, 2017
    Defence modernisation in three years of NDA rule
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    The three services had suffered prolonged neglect in respect of modernisation in the period 2004 to 2014 owing to a number of factors.

  • May 24, 2017
    NDA's achievements in defence sector in three years
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

    The Modi government which completes three years on 26 May 2017 is planning to celebrate their achievements by putting out a report card giving out statistics of their achievements in the last three years of NDAs governance.

  • May 24, 2017
    Defence in 3 years under NDA II
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    On May 26, 2017 the NDA II government completed three years in office. Last three years have seen India rising in economic strength and making way for greater say on the world stage.

  • May 20, 2017
    M777 howitzers finally debut India
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In what is being described as "laying the Bofors ghost to rest", the first two M777 howitzer guns manufactured by BAE System of USA arrived in India and...

  • May 20, 2017
    US nudges Pakistan — Wee bit only
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The US National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has blamed Pakistan for deteriorating India-Pak relations and warned that the ties might worsen further if another "high- profile" terrorist attack emanates from across the border this year.

  • May 20, 2017
    Beyond ICJ ruling on Kulbhushan Jadhav
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The unanimous verdict by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) staying the execution of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Yadav was on expected lines because Pakistan had violated India's right, provided under the Vienna...

  • May 20, 2017
    North Korea — Rogue supported by rogue
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As North Korea carried out another ballistic missile test, shortly after President Moon Jae-in took office in South Korea, US President Donald Trump called for "stronger sanctions" against North Korea, while China is urged restraint.

  • May 20, 2017
    PM Modi's Sri Lanka visit
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    When Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came to India on a 5-day visit in April 2017, he had reiterated the invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Sri Lanka on occasion of Vesak Day celebrations commencing...

  • May 20, 2017
    New counter-Maoist strategy — Why it is regressive?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The twin Maoists attacks in Sukma on March 11 on a 110-strong CRPF column) and on April 24 on a 99-strong CRPF column, inflicted massive casualties on the CRPF; 36 killed and 12 injured, besides loss of 34 weapons...

  • May 19, 2017
    Phased Induction of M777 155mm Ultra Light Howitzers in the Indian Army
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

    As part of its massive artillery modernisation plan, the army had planned to induct several types of howitzers through in-house manufacture by Defence Research...

  • May 18, 2017
    Expediting Defence Procurements
    By Ranjit Kumar

    India's defence acquisition framework is considered to be one of the most cumbersome, time consuming, complex and fraught with uncertainties.

  • May 15, 2017
    Strategic partnership policy — Needs speedy conclusion
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    When Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) 2016 was released by the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in Defexpo 2016, it was without few appendices, which were added later.

  • May 12, 2017
    Countering Maoists — Serious review required
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Post the ghastly Maoist ambush at Sukma on April 24, killing 24 CRPF personnel and injuring seven (of 99-strong CRPF column), a Gazette notification...

  • May 12, 2017
    GSAT-09 — Modi's gift to South Asia
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    GSAT-09 or SAS (South Asia Satellite) is the latest technological move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for integrating South Asia, a resolve he had shown at the swearing in of his government by inviting all SAARC leaders, including Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan.

  • May 12, 2017
    Another beheading by Pak Army
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    A press release on May 1 by Army's HQ Northern Command read, "Pak Army carried out unprovoked rocket and mortar firing on two forward posts on the line of control in Krishna Ghati Sector.

  • May 12, 2017
    ICJ reprieve for Kulbhushan Jadhav
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The reprieve obtained by India for Kulbhushan Yadav from the International Court of justice (ICJ) is a diplomatic victory. This is all the more special because the ICJ deals with international law involving states and not individual cases.

  • May 12, 2017
    'Negative' defence budget — Goes more negative
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The relationship between economy and defence is that both are dependent on each other. Defence cannot be strong without good economy...

  • April 25, 2017
    PM Modi's Israel visit — Expectations?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel on July 5-6 this year, first by any Indian Prime Minster will be a historic event of extraordinary proportions since...

  • April 25, 2017
    Another joint doctrine — But who will implement?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Media is agog with headlines of "New defence doctrine to ensure Army, Navy, IAF can tackle entire spectrum of conflicts".

  • April 25, 2017
    Kamov helicopters — Finally through?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In March 2017, media reported that the Indo-Russian Kamov helicopter deal had hit a hurdle, pricing and technology transfer being main issues.

  • April 25, 2017
    Pakistan's 'Jadhav' sentencing — Rotten to the core
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    A press release of April 10 by Pakistan's notorious ISPR said that Kulbhushan Jadhav arrested from Balochistan on March 3, 2016 for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan was tried by FGCM under section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and Section 3 of Official Secrets...

  • April 25, 2017
    Increased violence in Kashmir — And the enemy within
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The increased violence in Kashmir Valley doesn't appear to have been as seriously as warranted, especially the institutionalized radicalization...

  • April 13, 2017
    Indo-Bangla relations at all time high — Teesta should be next step
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The four day visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (April 7-10) has taken Indo-Bangladesh relations to an all time high. Just before her visit...

  • April 13, 2017
    Cyber war — Where are we?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Cyber attacks in India have been on the rise over the years, particularly against government sites and Indian missions abroad despite several layers of security measures in place to protect against intrusions.

  • April 13, 2017
    ISIS menace — Caution time ahead
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The Bhopal-Ujjain train blast on March 7, 2017 injuring nine people is being heralded as the first strike by the Islamic State in India. It has now emerged that the members of this module inspired by ISIS, led by self-styled 'emir' Atif Muzaffar, had crisscrossed the country between February 2016...

  • April 13, 2017
    The border infrastructure mess
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The Parliamentary Committee for Defence has been rapping the government for its lackadaisical approach to defence, however, this time it is the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) who has pulled up the Border Roads Organisation...

  • April 13, 2017
    Bullet Resistant Vests
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    India has been fighting cross-border proxy wars, terrorism and insurgencies past three decades plus. The requirement of bullet proof jackets (BPJs) for every security forces fighter operating in counter insurgency and counter terrorist...

  • April 13, 2017
    Maoists violence — Far from over
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    On March 10, 2017 an article titled 'Is It the End of the Road for Maoists?' appeared in the media. The author post visiting the areas of Jagargunda, Sukma, Dornapal, justified the title of the article on grounds that included...

  • March 14, 2017
    Visit of Bangladesh PM - expectations
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Coming up next month in April is the all important visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh to India.

  • Pakistan — Defiant Frankenstein
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    By admitting that the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack was carried out by Pakistan based terror group but that the Pakistani government had no role in it, former Pakistan National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani has managed to hit headlines while keeping himself safe.

  • Special Forces — efforts to bridge equipment voids
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Media is agog with news "Army on shopping spree, commandos to get deadlier", reporting that after the successful 'surgical strikes', MoD is fast-tracking some...

  • Military Modernization Kaput — and the curse of committees
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has slammed the...

  • QCG and the six plus one
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) comprising the US, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan aimed to bring the Taliban on board to join...

  • Of Grenade Lobbing Robots — and more
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As the battle for Mosul continues, the ISIS fights on with new technology. Tiny surveillance drones are employed to observe and report movement and positions of the attacking forces.

  • Indigenous LCH — good strides
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    India's indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), was a star attraction at the Aero India 2017...

  • Pakistan's Change of Heart — recurring utopia
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    When news came that Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Pakistani army chief had told his officers that they should read how the Indian democracy had succeeded, media at home went gaga as usual, with many utopians forecasting 'change of heart' in Pakistan, little realizing that Bajwa is from the same crop as Zia, Musharraf and Co. And lo and behold, some terror blowback in Pakistan and Bajwa plays...

  • Remov AFSPA — periodic punchline
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    There are frequent calls in insurgency affected areas for removal or dilution of the Armed Forces Special Power Act. Such calls are periodic in J&K and Manipur. It is also a election issue in Manipur this year, particularly by the People's Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) floated by Chanu Sharmila who has been demanding repealing of AFSPA for past 16 years.

  • India-China Strategic Dialogue — hollowness persists
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    On February 22, India and China held their 'upgraded' strategic dialogue at Beijing. Just before the dialogue, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar held talks...

  • Indo-US Defence Ties — retain the high
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    There was some speculation as to how the Indo-US defence relationship would pan out under the new US President, as relationships do undergo change...

  • Policy on Unmanned Vehicles — setting course is good
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    DRDO Director General Dr S Christopher's statement on February 11, 2017 that DRDO plans to soon come out with policy document on unmanned vehicles...

  • Tri-Service Commands — must get them right
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    After a lapse of over a year, news is media is again talking of Tri-Service Commands and other measures like appointing a single-point military adviser...

  • Longer reach Pinaka tested
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In January 2015, Mark-II version of Pinaka rocket system was successfully tested to its full range where it was able to destroy its targets 60km away.

  • Big Stride in Ballistic Missile Defence
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    February, 11, 2017 was a great day for the DRDO and the nation. At precisely 0745 hours, DRDO successfully test-fired a interceptor missile off Odisha coast and achieved a significant milestone for developing a two-layered BMD system...

  • Critical shortages — Where is the money?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Media reports headlining urgent arms deals of Rs 20,000 crores have been signed to keep the Armed Forces "ready" create an impression that all is going to be hunky dory in a jiffy is misnomer.

  • Defence Budget 2017-2018
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Defence has been allocated Rs 2,74,114 crore ($40.31 billion) for fiscal year 2017-2018. This does not include the pensions bill which itself is close to Rs 85,000 crore per annum.

  • The China factor in Kashmir
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    That China is the central actor behind the problems in J&K is still not fully acknowledged by our policy makers. Not that it is a new development but the understanding remained coloured with the advice of our intelligence agencies who refused to get out of the time wrap.

  • Carbines — Small arms faux passé
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    According to media reports, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has decided to purchase 44,000 close quarter battle (CQB) carbines via direct route and cancel the tender process.

  • Why India should never join CPEC
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Khaled Ahmed, consulting editor, 'Newsweek' Pakistan, in his recent article titled 'Corridor of Uncertainty' writes that Pakistan's General Riaz inviting India...

  • Improving night fighting capability
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As per media reports, MoD has approved purchases for improving the night warfare capabilities of the Army at a cost of US$3.2 billion. This is good news but going by past experience of excruciatingly long procedures, how many years elapse before this equipment actually gets fielded is anybody's guess.

  • RoboSen is good — But we have miles to go
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    DRDO has just unveiled RoboSen (short for 'Robot Sentry'). Its employability is for guarding a house, office or industrial unit. It can move around the premises, take photographs of all suspicious objects and movement, enabling law enforcement agencies to act, as and when required.

  • India joins ICBM 5000+ league
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    India successfully undertook the fourth and final test firing of the Agni-V today (December 26) from Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha. This is a wholly indigenously developed ICBM, which by itself is a gigantic achievement.

  • Heart of Asia — Pak proxies named
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In his inaugural address at the Sixth Ministerial 'Heart of Asia' Conference at Amritsar, represented by some 30 countries and international and regional organizations and co-chaired by Finance Minister of India and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the following...

  • Visit of Israeli President — cementing ties
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The eight-day visit to India in November by President Reuven Rivlin of Israel further cemented India-Israel bilateral relations. His visit was the first one by an Israeli President after 1996 when President Ezer Weizman had visited India.

  • Coming — Armed drones
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Pakistan tested its indigenous 'Burraq' UCAV last year and according to the Dawn quoting industry insiders, in 2015 China had offered to sell Pakistan its CH-3 UCAV, which can carry two laser-guided missiles or bombs.

  • IA and PLA 'Hand-in-Hand' again
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    After a almost an eight year red-taped procurement procedure, the Army has got the delivery of 20,000 bullet proof jackets and another 30,000 are to follow. The Army needed 3,53,765 new jackets sanctioned as per a plan in 2009.

  • Bullet proof jackets for Army — Trickling in
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    After a almost an eight year red-taped procurement procedure, the Army has got the delivery of 20,000 bullet proof jackets and another 30,000 are to follow. The Army needed 3,53,765 new jackets sanctioned as per a plan in 2009.