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Indian Military News
Fresh Strategy, Four-Pronged

<i>Towards a robust military: fortified cadre, integrated services, a new-age corps, efficient airlift.</i>

In the light of the new conventional war doctrine, the Indian military is planning a major restructuring of its force. Pending at various stages is a slew of proposals that seek to add more muscle to the armed forces.

A CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) note is being prepared by army headquarters, seeking more divisions to maintain its conventional superiority against Pakistan and match Chinese troop strength in the Chengdu and Lanzhou military regions that face India.

The army top brass is banking on the government to accept their rationale for the changes.

The Union defence ministry is also looking at setting up 'theatre commands' which will integrate all three services—the army, navy and air force—into a single fighting unit.

This is significant as the Indian armed forces have so far operated in separate watertight compartments, planning their posturing in isolation in the absence of a chief of defence staff.

In keeping with the theatre command concept, the Indian army has shelved its plans for a North-West Command in the Jammu region, presently manned by the Nagrota-based 16 Corps. Most military experts agree that in an era of joint operations, the three services must be integrated and this can be achieved by 'theatre commands' that will ensure greater mobility as well as fluidity in planning and integrated operations.

A third move is to try and build a mountain strike corps, a concept that has been validated by several military think tanks. A study group set up after Operation Parakram had underscored the idea of a dedicated mountain strike corps being imperative since a large part of India's vulnerable borders with Pakistan and China are in the mountains.

Finally, plans are afoot to add more muscle to India's airlift capabilities to ensure that it can rapidly build up troops in the event of a conflict on the Sino-Indian border. Also there is the urgent need to build roads in Arunachal Pradesh.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Indefensible delay </b>
A governor has written to Defence Minister A.K. Antony protesting that the Indian Army has not renewed the contract of some 30 lecturers who give discourses on various aspects of the<b> Hindu religion </b>to army jawans in different parts of the country. The system of organising religious lectures for jawans in forward areas to help them destress was started several years ago. Preachers belonging to the four major faiths — Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Sikhism — are trained at the National Harmony Centre in Pune. Antony has replied to the governor to say he is examining the matter. <b>But eight months have passed and none of the lecturers on Hinduism have been taken back into service.</b>
<b>Blast-off from a missile era - Isolated self-reliance ends</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->SUJAN DUTTA 
New Delhi, Jan. 8: India has wound up its guided missile programme 24 years after it was launched, jettisoning the political philosophy of isolated self-reliance in military technology.

The burial of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) founded by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in July 1983 was couched in claims by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that it has delivered all five missile systems that the plan envisaged.

The announcement comes a day before the DRDO celebrates its golden jubilee.

Begun with an initial allocation of about Rs 389 crore in 1983, the cost and time overruns have seen more than Rs 2,000 crore being used up in the programme to develop five missile systems. (See chart)

C.K. Prahlada, the chairman of the IGMDP board and chief controller (research and development) of DRDO, declared today that the Akash surface-to-air missile system tested last month was ready for induction by the army and the air force. With this, the IGMDP has been formally wound up.

The winding up of the IGMDP does not mean that all work on the five missile projects is scrapped immediately. <b>It means the government will not make any further investment in the research and development of these missiles over and above what has already been sanctioned</b>.

For example, the Agni III strategic missile that successfully test-fired in April last year can still be fine-tuned and more tests of it are likely on the road to induction in the armed forces.

<b>The government and the DRDO believe that the winding up of the IGMDP means the emphasis is now shifting from research and development to series production.</b>

Prahlada said missile manufacturing capacities have to be expanded. Capacity at a missile facility in Hyderabad will be expanded in the short term to 100 missiles from 40 a year.

The IGMDP’s time actually ran out in December 2007 and were it not for the DRDO’s advertisement of the Akash as the pinnacle of its success, the programme’s burial would have been quiet. Work on the smallest of the missiles under the project — the anti-tank Nag — will be over this summer.

“You must understand the background of the IGMDP,” Prahlada explained. “It was started at a time when there was no help forthcoming from anywhere. That situation is not there now.”

To illustrate, he said there were organisations from as many as 14 countries that were now willing to collaborate with the DRDO in developing missiles. Among these were the US, Israel, Germany, France and Russia.

When the IGMDP was launched in July 1983, India was dependent almost wholly on Russian military technology. But even Soviet supplies and support for the strategic missile programme was niggardly.

Understanding that the US had imposed a technology-denial regime, India offered to devise its own missiles and put Kalam in charge.

The IGMDP was given time till 1995. On Kalam’s insistence, the P.V. Narasimha Rao government gave it a further lease of life for another 10 years.

In 2006, when the defence establishment had all but taken a decision to mothball the Trishul missile programme, the DRDO insisted again — when Kalam was President — and the government granted it another two years.

In these two years, the DRDO — and not only its missile programmes — came in for criticism from the users (the armed forces) and even its former scientists. But last year, the DRDO carried out probably the largest number of missile tests in the rush to meet the December 2007 deadline.

Asked if the IGMDP was going to be replaced by another programme, Prahlada said there would be a general move towards greater collaborative ventures but this would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

<b>He said two possible models were the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile that is a joint venture between India and Russia run on commercial lines, and the Astra, a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile for which the DRDO is tying up with institutions in at least four countries.

But this model, however, will not be adopted for strategic (read long-range nuclear-capable) missiles like the Surya (which is on the drawing board) and electronic warfare systems.</b>

It has been reported in a section of the media today that “Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) as a Strategic Programme stands Scrapped”.

It is hereby clarified that except for Agni demonstrator, which was successfully completed in 1989, all other projects under IGMDP are related to Tactical Missiles such as anti-tank Nag, short range Trishul, medium range Akash and Prithvi for artillery role with conventional warheads. All these missiles have since been developed. All are entering Service in one form or other. With this, objectives of IGMDP originally envisaged stand completed.

Strategic Missile Program is entirely indigenous and is being pursued through a number of separate projects. All of them are progressing as per schedule and no Strategic System has been scrapped.
India`s efforts to produce nuclear submarine on schedule

New Delhi, Jan 09: India's efforts to make a nuclear submarine on its own is "on schedule", Defence Minister A K Antony said on Wednesday.

"The efforts for the production of an Advanced Technology Vehicle-- an acronym for nuclear submarine-- is going on as per schedule", Antony said in reply to a volley of questions on the subject during an interaction here.

Citing country's national interest, the Minister declined to elaborate.

Defence Ministry officials have said the country's first indigenous ATV would be ready for sea trials by 2009.

India is also in the process of acquiring advanced Russian nuclear submarines on lease. Though Indian officials were tightlipped, Russian sources said the first of these subs would be delivered by next year.

After the interaction, Antony told PTI that no fresh progress had been made in resolving the delivery of Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Groshkov though negotiations were on.

The two countries are deadlocked over the pricing of the warship. India is supposed to get the delivery of the aircraft carrier next year but Russia told India that they cannot stick to the time schedule due to heavy cost overuns on the warship's upgrading.
<b>Indian Army well prepared to thwart any evil designs</b>

Chennai, Jan 15: Claiming that "some elements might take advantage of the political situation in Pakistan to infiltrate into India," a senior Army official on Tuesday asserted that the force was well-prepared to thwart any 'evil designs'.

Answering queries in this regard on the sidelines of the Army Day Investiture Ceremony here, Lt Gen Noble Thamburaj, GoC-in-C, Southern Command, said the Army has to be extra prepared and extra cautious "as some elements might try to take advantage of the situation in Pakistan."

"The Army is prepared and we have taken all necessary precautions," he said.

Earlier, he gave away Gallantry Awards to 42 officers at the Officers' Training Academy at St Thomas Mount, with one of them being awarded posthumously.

<b>Indian support helped weaken LTTE: Sri Lanka</b>

Colombo, Jan 15 : Sri Lanka's navy has praised India for its help in countering the LTTE, and said the militant group's "backbone has been broken" after the destruction of several rebel vessels.

"Co-operation with India has been extremely successful in countering the LTTE. Every year, the Indian navy with the Indian Coast Guard and the Sri Lankan navy holds four bilateral discussions. We are conducting coordinated patrols with the Indian navy as well," Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda said.

"We have broken their backbone by destroying their supply vessels and floating warehouses, several war-like materials which would have allowed the tigers to sustain this conflict," Karannagoda told the media.

The Navy Chief asserted that the LTTE was not strong enough to sustain its fight against the government for long and that the outfit's naval power was badly weakened after several losses.

"The navy has destroyed almost all LTTE vessels that could have assisted the tigers in attacking the armed forces," he said adding "within one year we have destroyed eight floating warehouses, which had carried more than 10,000 tons of war-like material".

This included artillery, mortar, dismantled parts of three aircraft, bullet proof vehicles, underwater delivery vehicles, scuba diving sets and radar, among other things, he said.

On its part, the Sri Lankan Navy has acquired new ships and boats and is also building indigenous vessels to counter the LTTE threat, Karannagoda said.

Earlier, the LTTE warehouses were stationed off the Island's coast and whenever the need arose they came up to about 300 kms from land and transferred the arms cargo on to trawlers which brings them ashore, the Navy Chief said.

He said the navy had successfully put an end to this type of arms smuggling, severely weakening the LTTE.
<b>The secret undersea weapon</b>
RE above link

Get the SSBNs fast and keep them around.

The Web-ster's dictionary says:

SSBN: Acronym for "Sudden Sense for B@stard Nations". Refers to the sudden injection of sense into countries making unreasonable demands of, and expecting unreasonable concessions from, the country that owns the SSBN.

Man I had to queue overnight outside that bookstore for this great limited edition dictionary (and some b@stard stepped on my pinky toe when the stampede started once the doors opened <!--emo&:furious--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/furious.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='furious.gif' /><!--endemo--> ), but it was well worth the $ 72.36...
<b>Agni missile to get multiple warheads</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Leave Army alone </b>
The Pioneer Edit Desk
There are other ways of saving money

<b>For some time now strategic affairs 'experts' and their political mentors, known for their proximity to the Washington establishment, have been peddling the theory that India needs a technology-intensive 'lean-and-mean' Army, not a large force of 11 lakh soldiers and officers. On paper this sounds good</b>. But shorn of hyperbole, it simply means downsizing the Army and thus automatically reducing the deployment of troops, especially along the Line of Control and in Jammu & Kashmir, apart from our frontier with China.<b> This would definitely suit the purpose of those who wish to see India's military might emasculated -- not all of them are based in Rawalpindi and Muridke</b>. Those pushing the 'lean-and-mean' theory will, of course, argue that any reduction in the number of soldiers and officers will be more than made up by the induction of 'high-end technology'. What they do not mention is that the technology will have to be imported at a high cost - both literally and metaphorically -- and supplies can be stopped without either explanation or notice. While we would be left high and dry, the suppliers, who need not be named, would be laughing all the way to their banks. All this and more must have weighed heavily on the Army top brass, which has now decided, as reported by this newspaper on Saturday, that there cannot be a reduction in the size of the Army. For a country with troubled borders, insurgency-affected regions and a population of more than a billion people, ours is not a large Army. Unlike in most countries, especially those who preach the need to trim the size of our military, the Army in India is not restricted to barracks or fighting other people's wars. Our soldiers and officers have to maintain constant vigil in the west and the east; they have to perform security-related duties in Jammu & Kashmir (no, these cannot be left to the State police); they have to hold the peace in the North-East; and, given the wretched state of our infrastructure, for which our political class is to blame, they have to be deployed in sufficiently large numbers throughout the year along the LoC and the frontier with China. Those who argue against this would do well to revisit the incursion by Pakistani troops in the Kargil sector in 1999 because of the hare-brained decision to keep posts vacant during winter.

There is no doubt need to rationalise the present 'field force' and 'non-field force' to the extent that useless flab can be got rid of. But this is an exercise best left to the Generals who alone can assess where cuts can be made to make the Army more efficient without depleting its inherent strength. In any event, there cannot be any roll back in the number of troops deployed at the ground level to secure our borders. To do so would be suicidal -- in the event of an emergency, by the time we move troops it may prove to be too late. Let the Government not eye the Army to reduce its expenditure.<b> If it is truly interested in cutbacks, it should begin by scrapping cockamamie social welfare projects, conjured by barefoot 'economists' and jholawallahs, which are bleeding the public exchequer and enriching corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and contractors, and stop promising freebies to entice voters.</b> Since the people of India do not grudge the Army its expenses, politicians and strategic affairs 'experts' who look West-ward for inspiration and patronage should stop bothering their silly heads about it.
<b>Indian Army refines network centric warfare skills</b>

Sun, Feb 10 06:43 PM

New Delhi, Feb 10 - Network centric warfare (NCW), a concept that is only now taking root in much of the developed world and is virtually non-existent in the Third World, is at an advanced stage in India and is set to expand exponentially in the future, a top commander says.

'We are already on course. In fact, there is no other network that is operating as well as in any developed country as it is in India,' the Indian Army's Signals Officer-in-Chief, Lt. Gen. S.P. Sree Prakash, said here Sunday.

NCW relates to the transfer of data in real time from the lowest soldier to the highest general and the ability of the network to integrate the data into useful information on operational, tactical and strategic levels irrespective of geographical locations.

'Network centricity and network connectivity is already in existence. We are in place and we are also geared up to take care of modernisation or replacement of the existing system,' Prakash told IANS.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the 97th anniversary of the Corps of Signals that is responsible for maintaining the Indian Army's 24X7 communications network.

'We are the catalysts in the Indian Army's march towards any revolution in military affairs in general or in particular when we talk about network centric warfare,' Prakash explained.

In this context, he noted that Signals had already upgraded the Army Radio Engineering Network (AREN) that was being used by the three strike corps and was about to launch the fourth phase of the Army Static Communication Network (ASCON) backbone to enable voice, data and video links to the smallest of fighting units in the field.

'ASCON has been planned in five phases. Due to financial constraints, the money is given in phases. We've gone on to finish phase three. For phase four, a RFP (request for proposal) has been given to ministry of defence for approval and we will soon be issuing it.

'Once all the five phases of ASCON are completed, there will a pan-India network to connect all formations whether in field or peace locations,' Prakash added.

'The system is functioning very effectively. What happens is that in every phase, technology is something that is always changing. So, every phase has to keep pace with the contemporary technology plus it is also has to get integrated with the legacy (existing) system.

'That is the challenge. Up to phase three, we have been able to achieve this integration and I am sure this will also be possible in the remaining two phases,' the officer maintained.

'We have already fielded one phase of the CDMA cellular network in the (Udhampur-based) Northern Command (that is responsible for guarding Jammu and Kashmir). I can guarantee you that we are ahead as far as the requirements of the Indian Army and the defence services are concerned.

'When new demands come, we are already ready,' Prakash added.

He also noted that today the aspirations of the users are very high.

'At one point of time, when you could speak to each other on telephone, you were happy. Then you shifted to data exchange. Now you have video. You have live coverage. That actually is network centricity when you're looking at every element of connectivity in three elements - speech, data and video,' Prakash pointed out.
<b>Indian Navy developing new generation UAV</b>

New Delhi (PTI): The Indian Navy is working on a 'path breaking' project to develop a new generation and longer-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to have deeper penetration in data collection and reconnaissance mechanism. The rotary wing UAV, designed like a helicopter and to be built jointly by Navy and the state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is expected to transform naval warfare.

"We are working with HAL to develop a new generation UAV on a helicopter platform. It will be a path breaking initiative and transform naval warfare," Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said on the sidelines of a function here.

He said the UAV's payload bay will carry sophisticated art reconnaissance equipment, maritime patrol sensors and data transmitters to enable it to record images in enemy territory and transmit them back to naval bases.

HAL Chairman and Managing Director Ashok Baweja said funding and sanction for the project are already getting into place and it will be started soon. "We have finalised the concept. The project clearance is on the way. We will start it shortly," he told PTI after the function on Wednesday.

Asked about involvement of any foreign company in the project, Baweja said the HAL has already identified the foreign partner for the project but did not divulge further details.

"We have already identified the foreign partner. We will require their help in the project as there are certain inputs that we will need," he said. He said the payloads of the UAV, apart from surveillance equipment, will include larger fuel packs for longer endurance.
<b>Indian Navy takes new initiative</b>

Indian Navy, the strongest in the region is now taking steps to strengthen the policing of the nearly 74 million square kilometres of the Indian Ocean, an effort to deal with the new emerging security threats.

Last year 25 warships from five countries participated in ''war games'' in the Bay of Bengal.

Now to police 73.6 million square kilometres of the Indian Ocean Region, the Navy will launch the first ever consultative mechanism on maritime issues, the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).

It will have 31 countries including France, Djibouti, Egypt, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.

Its goals include developing common doctrines and operational processes for speedy disaster relief .
Strengthening the capability of members to counter maritime security challenges.

The United States too has a similar platform, the Western Naval Pacific Symposium, comprising 21 members to achieve similar goals.

However, the Indian Navy says it is not a military alliance.

''IONS is a non-hegemonic consultative mechanism designed to promote cooperation among navies in the Indian Ocean region,'' said Rear Admiral Pradeep Chauhan.

But what does the new step signify.

''It is just a sign of growing India. India has one of the strongest navy in the region and it is good that they have taken the lead,'' said Kanwal Sibal, former Foreign Secretary.

While several questions remain about the new security structure, one thing is clear - the Indian Navy has taken the lead to deal with new emerging security threats in the Indian Ocean Region.
<b>Cooperation among Indian Ocean navies vital to fight terrorism : Manmohan</b>

Feb 15, 2008

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has endorsed the initiative launched on Thursday to fashion cooperation among navies of the Indian Ocean region, saying such ties were of “paramount importance” to tackle threats of terrorism from the seas.

High level of trade and economic growth being witnessed in the region dictated the need to ensure safety and security of the sea lanes, the Prime Minister said while inaugurating the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium being attended by over 25 naval chiefs and other senior officers from Indian Ocean rim countries.

Recent years had seen rise in crimes such as terrorism, piracy and smuggling of narcotics and arms in the ocean region and navies of the littoral states must cooperate with one another to prevent trans-national crimes on the high seas.

“The perpetrators of these crimes are well-organised and well-funded trans-national syndicates who take full advantage of the vastness of oceans. The need for cooperation among the navies of the region in preventing such trans-national crimes is, therefore, of paramount importance,” he said.

As the Indian Ocean spanned 28 million sq km, hosted a third of the world population and accounted for 40 per cent of the energy sources, “these are all the reasons why we must pool our resources and knowledge and act for the common good of all.” Sea lanes of the region had emerged as one of the most important lines of communication in the world with container handling at the ports of Colombo, Mumbai, Chittagong, Bangkok and Port Klan (Malaysia) registering double-digit growth, he pointed out.

“A growing percentage of the world’s large merchant ships and bulk carrier ships fly an Asian flag and this expansion in trade and economic growth dictates the need to ensure the safety and security of the sea lanes,” he said. Naval cooperation was also necessary for disaster mitigation as the Indian Ocean region accounted for 70 per cent of the world’s natural disasters.

“We look upon our navies to protect our citizens from natural disasters. We must have robust capabilities to deal with environmental emergencies.”

The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, discounted notions of the initiative being aimed at fashioning a military alliance and said the aim was to bring interoperability among the region’s navies to tackle terrorism, piracy and natural disasters.

While supporting greater cooperation among the navies of the Indian Ocean littoral states, Defence Minister A.K. Antony cautioned against “seeking extra-regional solutions.” Regionally sensitive solutions needed to be found for problems faced by the states of the region, he said.

“The concept of maritime security needs to be viewed in the above background. It should ensure freedom from threats arising either in or from the sea,” he said and wanted the participants to develop a comprehensive cooperative framework of maritime security. Such an effort would require a consensus-based approach, with a focus on pooling of resources and capacity building, information exchanges and development of interoperability in doctrinal and operational terms, he said.
<b>Set up regional maritime security, urges Vice President</b>

Feb 15, 2008

Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari Friday stressed the need for initiatives to set up regional maritime security mechanisms and called for an agreement on avoidance of incidents at high-sea among the littoral states.

At his address at the Indian Ocean naval Symposium in New Delhi, the Vice President said, joint exercises, training and joint naval hydrographic operations could be undertaken to build confidence.
<b>IAF signs MoU with Pawan Hans to share expertise</b>
Feb 15, 2008

The Indian Air Force and Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited signed Friday in New Delhi a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) enabling the IAF to share its expertise in operations with Pawan Hans.

According to the terms and conditions, the helicopter pilots nearing the end of their flying career in IAF would have scope to be inducted into Pawan Hans.

The MoU was signed by Air Vice Marshal LK Malhotra, Assistant Chief of Air Staff and Mr GP Srivastava, General Manager for Pawan Hans.

A release says, this will ensure Pawan Hans, India’s leading helicopter service provider, benefit from the extensive operation experience of IAF pilots. It will also offer a second career option to IAF helicopter pilots to utilize their flying skills even after their career in IAF.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Decline in piracy on high seas

<b>NEW DELHI, Feb. 13: Incidents of piracy on the high seas have declined considerably since India ratified a regional agreement one-and-a-half years ago, said the Brigadier General (NS), Mr Tay Lim Heng, the chairman of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (ReCAAP).</b>

During his meeting with Vice Admiral RF Contractor, Director General, Indian Coast Guard (DGICG) and Vice Chairman of ReCAAP, Mr Heng discussed steps to enhance cooperation and force building.

<b>India had acceded to the ReCAAP on 6 June 2006. It is aimed at enhancing cooperation among its 16 member countries, including the ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. ReCAAP had enabled the maritime forces to seize ships or aircraft involved in piracy and armed robbery besides information sharing, capacity building and cooperation for extradition and mutual legal assistance.</b>

During his stay in New Delhi, Brig. General Tay Heng, who is heading a four member ReCAAP delegation, also held discussions with the Special Secretary of Defence Ministry, Mr P K Rastogi.

They will visit the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), which is also the Piracy Reporting Centre in India, and participate in a table top exercise on piracy control during their visit to Mumbai over the next two days. The Coast Guard is India’s nodal agency for the ReCAAP.

<b>The role of the Indian Coast Guard shot into fame when it tackled the 1999 piracy incident of MV Alondra Rainbow and seized the hijacked cargo vessel carrying aluminium ingots worth $10 billion.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Scorpene submarine likely to roll out by 2012</b>

New Delhi (PTI): The Scorpene submarine could be fitted with the underwater version of the Brahmos cruise missiles, which could enhance Indian Navy's strategic firepower capability, French Company DCNS on Sunday announced.

"If India wants, Brahmos cruise missiles can be fitted on the Scorpene being built under technology transfer at Mazagon docks," DCNS project director Xavier Marchal told newspersons at the ongoing CII sponsored Defence-Expo.

DCNS is manufacturing the submarine.

If New Delhi gives the go ahead, it would increase the potential of the Navy, giving it a second option of firing missiles from submarines. Navy's recently upgraded Russian Kilo class submarines are armed with shore strike missiles.

DCNS executive vice president and chief operating officer Bernard Planchais also announced that teething problems in effecting technology transfer have been taken care of and the first of the Indian Navy's six Scorpene submarine will roll out in 2012.

"The first submarine is scheduled to be delivered in 2012 with the other five to follow at a rate of one per year," Planchais said

His words would come as a reassurance as transfer of technology to the Mumbai-based Mazagaon Dock has already put behind the roll out of the Scorpene by one year.

"I have reviewed the progress of the work at the Mazagon Dock in Mumbai, where the submarines are being constructed, recently and everything is going well. I am confident that we will be able to deliver all the submarines as per schedule," Planchais said. He added that the DCNS would be contending for Navy's subsequent orders for six more submarines.

Planchais remarks assumes significance in the backdrop of announcement by Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta that India would float global tenders for the second line of submarines this year.

India proposes to have 24 submarines with the mix of conventional and nuclear ones under the 20:20 submarine vision of the Navy. India is to acquire a nuclear submarine on lease from Russia next year, when its own advance technology vehicle would be ready for sea trials.

The DCNS has also launched a wholly-owned Indian subsidiary, with Mumbai as its headquarters, to acquire parts locally for its ongoing as well as future projects.

"Indian market is providing very good opportunities. There are certain physical difficulties and we are sorting out that and organising ourselves in the country," Marchal said. He said the company was also looking for joint venture with Indian companies to offer specialized services, design and operations in different defence projects.

Asked whether Scorpenes were better than Agosta, the submarines which are being constructed by the DCNS for Pakistan Navy, DCNS project director Xavier Marchal said "Of course Agostas are inferior than Scorpenes".

On follow on priorities, Planchais said "Our current priority is to succeed the Scorpene project".

Marchal said Idian naval shipbuilder Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering Ltd (GRSE) has awarded DCNS a contract to supply propulsion equipment and auxiliaries, including thrust blocks, for four type P28 anti-submarine warfare corvettes for the Indian Navy.

The contract is led by a partnership comprising DCNS and Indian companies Walchandagar Industries Ltd. DCNS also assists GRSE with propulsion system integration.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Armed forces to get huge pay hike</b>

New Delhi, Jan 22 (PTI) The armed forces are expected to get a big pay hike, with Defence Minister A K Antony today suggesting the Sixth Pay Commission was likely to favourably consider their demand for 2.5 times raise.

Expressing concern over rapidly falling enrollments in armed forces academies and shortage of officers, Antony attributed this to pay packets being better in the private sector.

"Children these days have many options and the pay packets are much better outside than what the armed forces are offering," he told newsmen on the sidelines of a function to felicitate National Bravery award winning children here.

"For the first time the armed forces have put their best foot forward by presenting unified proposals to the Sixth Pay Commission," the Defence Minister said and expressed optimism that men in battle fatigues "would get a better deal this time".

The armed forces have sought 2.5 times hike in salaries and perks for its men.

Antony also said his ministry would soon approach the Central government for approval of the second phase of married accommodation project to meet the shortfall in accommodation for large number of soldiers who are living away from their families.

"Government will work on war-footing to execute the housing projects," he said.

Turning to feats of bravery exhibited by award winning children, Antony said their achievements were as great and comparable to armed forces guarding the borders in inhospitable terrain.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

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