Indian companies are aiding China breach security at various levels in India by supplying fake and cheap spare parts and sub-standard quality Chinese surveillance devices for use in our military equipment and defence establishments
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
Two recent discoveries indicate how China is infiltrating the Indian security establishment to weaken our capabilities; call it part of China’s hybrid warfare, unrestricted warfare or whatever. The important point is that these discoveries may be just the tip of the iceberg given China’s economic clout, political, information and psychological warfare and the ability to undermine its adversaries.
Indian dailies of July 22 headlined the news ‘CBI finds fake Chinese parts in Indian Army’s Dhanush Gun’. The report said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case of criminal conspiracy and cheating against a Delhi based company, for selling Made in China parts camouflaged as 'Made in Germany' to Jabalpur's Ordnance Factory (OF). The first information report (FIR) alleged that the accused supplied fake and cheap spare parts (bearings) used in the manufacture of Dhanush guns.
CBI has filed a case against a Delhi based company, for selling Made in China parts camouflaged as 'Made in Germany' to Jabalpur's Ordnance Factory
The FIR mentions unknown officials of Guns Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur, having accepted the Chinese manufactured 'Wire Race Roller Bearings' supplied by Sidh Sales Syndicate which were embossed as 'CRB-Made in Germany'. A tender was floated for the procurement of four such bearings according to the Rothe Erde drawing for 155mm gun in which four firms had participated. The order was given to Sidh Sales Syndicate at the value of 35.38 lakh in 2013. The order was further increased to six bearings at the cost of 53.07 lakh on August 27, 2014.
Sidh Sales Syndicate got the six bearings manufactured by Sino United Industries (Luyang) Ltd Henan, China. The letter from Germany shown by the company was also on a forged letterhead. The company supplied two bearings each on three occasions between April 7, 2014 and August 12, 2014. GCF tests showed that the bearings were unacceptable due to deviations in dimensions. The Dhanush gun is a joint effort by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), PSUs Bharat Electronics Limited, SAIL, and private firms. As the name suggests, the Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) is responsible for all quality assurance.
The CBI has said that production and performance of the Dhanush gun is extremely crucial for India's defence preparedness and "wire race roller bearing" is its vital component. Here the question is that if the GCF tests showed that the bearings were unacceptable due to deviations in dimensions, why were they fitted into the Dhanush guns, six of which were handed over to the Indian Army in 2019 as part of Army’s projected requirement for 114 Dhanush guns?
Defective Dhanush guns were handed over to the Army knowing the defective wire race roller bearings could cause the gun to fail at critical juncture and/or even cause accidents
The OFB is to produce quantity 114 x 155mm/45 calibre howitzers based on transfer of technology (ToT) from Bofors in the 1980s. Findings of the CBI raises terrible stink as may be deduced from the following:
The second discovery is media reports about the installation of cheap quality Chinese surveillance devices in high-security buildings including South Block (housing the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs), North Block (housing the Ministry of Home and Ministry of Finance) and Sena Bhawan, for which a high-level inquiry is underway. Several key officials of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) are reportedly involved in the alleged scam of not only misappropriation of over 100 crore fund allocated for the purpose but also for compromising national security.
In 2018, after the leak of classified documents from various central ministries, the government had put in place stricter access norms for high-security defence establishments. Besides stricter guidelines for entry of visitors, installation of surveillance cameras and access-control devices were also placed to prevent any security breaches. CCTVs were not only installed at the entry and exit points, but also on the corridors of these establishments. Yet there were complaints of breach of security.
In the instant case, a public-sector undertaking (PSU) was reportedly given the 100 crore project for installation of security and surveillance devices in these high-security buildings in the Central Secretariat, which included installing networking devices, long-range radars, junction boxes, and intrusion alert systems. Surveillance devices were also to be put in place at the boundary walls of South Block and Sena Bhawan. However, it turns out that the devices lack a strong security firewall and can be remotely accessed by “anyone”.
Installation of duplicate cheap types of equipment indicates massive fund misappropriation
Media has quoted an unnamed ‘senior official’ saying that the installation of duplicate cheap types of equipment indicates massive fund misappropriation. The official alleged that two veteran military officers hired by the PSU as consultants for the project, created a nexus with vendors, key bureaucrats, and ex-officials to procure and install cheap and sub-standard quality Chinese surveillance devices. The security division of the MoD, however, maintains that the majority of these systems are nonfunctional (sic), which clearly is a lame excuse. Also whether involvement of the two military veterans working as consultants to the PSU is true or not, onus of the scam and its ramifications on national security rests clearly on the MoD officials.
According to media, the revelations came a day after the Union Government was accused of snooping on various politicians, bureaucrats, and journalists – the Pegasus affair. But what can one say about the above two incidents except that China will continue to have a field day hiring individuals whose motto is ‘money first’.