By ANSHUMAN BHARGAVA :
In the line of new augmentations and acquisitions come the newly-commissioned made-in-India INS Kavaratti and anti-tank ‘Nag’ missile, both of which are state-of-the-art stealth weapons that give ample teeth to the Army and Navy to bolster its frontline capability.
While the process of induction of new technology and modernising the armoury has always been a tardy and long-drawn process in India, over the last six years, under the NDA II dispensation led by PM Narendra Modi, enhancing capabilities and augmenting defence capacities have been at the forefront of priorities and the processes have been expedited by alacritous action of the powers to be.
INDIA’S defence capabilities have long been an issue of debate and boosting the same has been the priority of all Governments in the face of constant threat perceptions from inimical neighbours like China and Pakistan. While the process of induction of new technology and modernising the armoury has always been a tardy and long-drawn process in India, over the last six years, under the NDA II dispensation led by PM Narendra Modi, enhancing capabilities and augmenting defence capacities have been at the forefront of priorities and the processes have been expedited by alacritous action of the powers to be.
This has led to a seminal growth all-round heft of the country’s Army and served as a timely rebuttal to the evil designs of China and Pakistan. In the line of new augmentations and acquisitions come the newly commissioned made-in-India INS Kavaratti and anti-tank ‘Nag’ missile, both of which are state-of-the-art stealth weapons that give ample teeth to the Army and Navy to bolster its frontline capability to take on any enemy assault. Kavaratti is the last of four indigenously-built ASW under ‘Project 28’ or Kamorta-class corvettes of the Navy. ‘Project 28’ was approved in 2003.
The other three warships under this project are INS Kamorta (commissioned in 2014), INS Kadmatt (2016) and INS Kiltan (2017). INS Kavaratti has up to 90 per cent indigenous content. The use of carbon composites to build it has been described as a ‘commendable feat achieved in Indian shipbuilding.’ The warship has been designed by the Navy’s in-house organisation, the Directorate of Naval Design (DND). Kolkata’s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), has built it. It has state-of-the-art weapons and a sensor that can detect and take action against hostile submarines. It also has a good endurance for long-range deployments. INS Kavaratti derives its name from the eponymous INS Kavaratti, which was an Arnala class missile corvette.
The older INS Kavaratti operated during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. The new ship is more modern, bigger and decidedly better equipped. It is 109 m in length, 13 m wide, can move at 25 knots per hour and carry a full complement of 17 officers and 106 sailors. Meanwhile, at the same time, the Defence Research and Development Organisation fully completed the final trial of Nag anti-tank missile using a live warhead on a dud tank at Pokhran Army ranges. The shoulder four-kilo metre range missile with infrared red seeker will now be inducted in Indian Army.
The DRDO is on a missile testing spree since the past month with only one missile, 1000 km range sub-sonic cruises Nirbhay, developing a snag in a test earlier this month. The missile is now expected-first fired in the coming months as the technical snag in the booster has been rectified by the missile team. The final trial of Nag anti-tank missile means that the Indian Army will no longer have to import this weapon from either Israel or the US for the range of four kilometres. It was due to unavailability of a credible anti-tank weapon, that India had to buy around 200 pieces of Spike anti-tank missiles from Israel as emergency purchases after the aggression by People’s Liberation Army in Ladakh. The need for the anti-tank missile was sorely felt after PLA amassed artillery, rockets and tanks in occupied Aksai Chin to deter India. Both these major additions to the defence capability of our country, following closely the induction of the Rafale jets recently, and other minor inductions being carried out in a phased manner, is gradually changing the face and shape of Indian military and its assault capabilities. Despite having one of the largest armies in the world with a stupendous budgetary allocation, over the years, due to lack of indigenous development of advanced technology, we have started lagging many nations in many departments of skill and efficiency and the need of the hour is to add muscle and fire to the system. This is not only a logistic boost but also a morale booster for our soldiers, who can now feel on par with the best of armies.
The Government has already embarked upon trimming the flab in the Army, to save money and make it a more functional, smart, coherent and a great read up the unit in line with the best global practices of warfare and warfare preparation. This has infused the military with a new discipline, spirit, aggression and work culture more geared towards today’s needs. More than quantity, it is the quality and ability that matter in today’s wars and thus, it is more important to equip ourselves with the best of technology and weaponry and best of management practices rather than keeping on increasing the number of foot soldiers, as the dimensions and modern-Bayern day conflicts have changed from widespread and large-scale bloodshed to covert localised assaults that need only highly specialised and precision inflictions. Much of our abilities today ride high on the smart technology choices we make to scale up the skill quotient of our men at the front.
We have to train our focus accordingly and this is why the new Government has ensured a change in tack and approach in a marked departure from the past and is subsequently ushering in new age idioms to run the Army administration through rapid modernisation, acquisitions and capacity building. That is the only way we can have the temerity to confront the most lethal of military powers, all of who are heavily targeting upgrading their military facilities in quick time as global diplomatic permutations are growingly volatile and the uncertainties deepening. No one knows from which corner or on which issue new threats will arise and preparedness is the key to thwart the possibilities of military escalation. A weak nation is easily threatened and bullied, which is not something India can allow, especially after the Chinese incursions of late that has served as an eye-opener.
The geopolitical positioning in the South Asia region is crucial to how the military strategies are drawn and its diplomatic relevance is a reference point of how the regional politics of the future plays up. The US throws its weight around India for the very same reason for it knows that without India, the jigsaw puzzle of the South Asian politics is incomplete. Hence, India has to stand up to its potentials and play its role in guiding back the distorted narrative towards peace and democracy – things which are largely missing today’s world in the mad race for hegemony. By the way, to talk peace today, one needs to keep the gun loaded. India is right on that path of reconciliation.