Ukraine War: Time For India To Rethink its Military Doctrine Modeled On Russia's?

India's Russian-equipped and trained military is watching with great concern Russia's losses in the Ukraine war. Moscow has lost 20,000 soldiers, nearly 500 main battle tanks and a large warship so far, according to media reports. Ukraine's use of Turkish drones, US-made anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) Javelins and Ukrainian anti-ship Neptune missiles has taken a heavy toll on the Russian Army and Navy. It is notable that India's Cold Start Doctrine against Pakistan is modeled on the Russian formation known as the “operational maneuver group” (OMG).  

Russian Influence On Indian Military Doctrine. Source: Air Universi...

Russian Influence on Indian Military Doctrine:

It is well known that the Indian Army relies on Russian tanks, artillery, rockets, and ammunition. The Indian Navy uses Russian ships, submarines and missiles and the Russian Su-30 MKI forms the backbone of the Indian Air Force. Like Russia, the Indian military doctrine is based on deploying large platforms (tanks, artillery, ships and fighter-bombers) with massive firepower.  Here's an excerpt of an article by Dr. Vipin Narang, an Indian-American analyst, on the subject: 

"In terms of doctrine and strategy, although it may be difficult to trace direct influence and lineage between Russia and India, there are several pieces in India’s conventional and nuclear strategy that at least mirror Russia’s behavior. On the conventional side, the core formation in the quick-strike concept known as “Cold Start” or “proactive strategy options” was modeled on the Russian formation known as the “operational maneuver group” (OMG). The idea was to have a formation that could be rapidly assembled from tank and armored divisions that could break through reinforced defenses—NATO for Russia, and Pakistan’s I and II Corps in the plains and desert sectors for India.

"On the nuclear side, India is currently seized with the same dilemma as the Soviet Union was during the Cold War: both NATO and Pakistan threaten battlefield nuclear weapons against conventional thrusts (India, at least, presumably would be retaliating following a Pakistan-backed provocation). While both states refined their conventional concept of operations, there may have also been corresponding adjustments to their nuclear strategies. It was long believed that, in response to NATO threats to use nuclear weapons first on the battlefield, the Soviet Union had strong preemptive counterforce elements in its strategy to try to at least disarm the United States of its strategic nuclear weapons for damage limitation. It is increasingly evident that at least some serious Indian officials are interested in developing the same sort of option: preemptive counterforce against Pakistan’s strategic nuclear forces, both for damage limitation and to reopen India’s conventional superiority. It is no surprise perhaps, then, that India chose to go ahead with acquiring Russia’s S-400 missile and air defense system, despite the threat of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions from the United States: the S-400 is key to India’s damage limitation strategy, capable of potentially intercepting residual ballistic and cruise missiles that a counterforce strike might miss". 

Turkish Drones: 

Turkish Bayraktar TB2 has been highly effective in destroying Russian tanks and armor in Ukraine. It is playing a key role in Ukraine's counter offensives against Russia's invasion. It is proving so effective that "Ukrainian forces are singing its praises, literally", according to a CNN report

Indian Army has nearly 6,000 tanks of Russian origin. These tanks are just as vulnerable to drone and anti-tank missiles as the Russian tanks that perished in Ukraine. 

Pakistan has developed Baktar Shikan, a second-generation man-portable anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system which uses optical aiming, IR tracking, remotely controlled and wire transmitted guidance signals. It can also be mounted on attack helicopters and Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). Its long range, penetration power and a powerful anti-jamming capability form a potent defense against armored targets.

Pakistan is also reported to have already acquired Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones recently. It was displayed in the Pakistan Day Parade on March 23, 2022, along with other military equipment acquired recently by the Pakistani defense forces. 

Anti-Ship Missiles:

Ukraine claims that its Neptune anti-ship missiles hit and sank Moskva in Black Sea.  It was a large 10,000-ton guided missile cruiser of the Russian Navy that was launching cruise missiles on targets in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. It is the largest warship to have been sunk in action since WWII. 

Vast majority of Indian Navy ships, including its aircraft carriers and missile frigates, are designed, built and equipped by Russians.  

Pakistan recently showcased its anti-ship missile Harbah at DIMDEX 2022, a defense expo in Qatar. It  is a medium range ship launched subsonic cruise missile system capable of targeting sea as well as land targets in “all weather operation” at a maximum range of 280 kilometers, according to a report in NavalNews. The missile is fire and forget type. It relies on inertial navigation technologies with GPS and GLONASS systems. According to its manufacturer GIDS, the missile features the following guidance systems: a DSMAC camera, imaging infrared seeker, and radar seeker.

Summary:

The war in Ukraine is forcing a defense strategy rethink in countries such as India which rely on Russian equipment and training. Hindustan Times has quoted an unnamed former Indian Army Chief as saying:  “War videos available show that the Russian Army has tactical issues in Ukraine war. Tell me, which tank formation goes to war in a single file without air or infantry cover when the opponent is equipped with the best anti-tank guided missile like Javelin or Turkish Bayraktar TB2 missile firing drones? There is question on Russian air supremacy with Ukraine Army armed with shoulder fired Stinger surface to air missiles as well as the night fighting capability of the Russian Air Force.”

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Comment by Riaz Haq on June 11, 2022 at 8:27am

Spotlight on Two Nuclear Powers: India and Pakistan
Factors increasing both countries’ confrontational risks include the war in Ukraine, rivalries with China and Russia, climate change and pandemics

https://impakter.com/spotlight-two-nuclear-powers-india-pakistan/

Why look at India and Pakistan when much of the world is focused on Ukraine? Because of the possibility of the war in Ukraine escalating to the point where the Russians choose to use a nuclear weapon: This would most likely be for tactical gain and psychological effect to force the Ukrainian Government to sue for “peace”.

Yet, if such were to happen, it would be the first time since World War II that nuclear weapons have been used in a conflict since they were successfully banned 75 years ago. It would change the boundaries of confrontation, conceivably forever, as other countries might be encouraged to consider using their nuclear power, and, among the (still) restricted group that has it, India and Pakistan are among those most inclined to do so.

Nuclear weapons analysts estimate that there are currently nine nuclear states — China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, and these numbers are likely to grow.

Possible newcomers include Iran, and Saudi Arabia, the former seen as purposefully seeking nuclear weapon capability, the latter pursuing nuclear development ostensibly for civilian purposes, but notably with the assistance of Pakistani experts, the same country that supported the North Korean weapons program.

The Saudis have not sworn off nuclear weapons and are the largest funders of Pakistan, which became a nuclear state primarily because the Netherlands allowed a nuclear physicist working at the Urenco labs in the Netherlands, Dr. Abdul Quadeer Khan, to take the blueprints of the Dutch nuclear enrichment and centrifuge technology and develop the Pakistani program.

Three countries “voluntarily” gave up their nuclear capability, namely South Africa, Libya, and Ukraine.

With respect to these latter two, their histories probably would be very different today if they had not done so. They serve as warnings for other countries that might think about giving up such capacity.

Overall, few regions of the world– maybe South America– are currently “nuclear arms-free” if you will

A Russian breach of the ban will have implications for all other nuclear-capable or “wannabe” countries, especially those facing confrontation with neighbors—which are nearly all countries.

Examples of neighbor disputes are numerous and include the Arctic, China and Japan, Colombia and Venezuela, and the Western Sahara pitting Morocco and Mauritania, to name just a few.

South Asia is very much such a region with India and Pakistan both nuclear-armed, and with the three largest nuclear powers, China, Russia, and the United States having clients, and chosen sides. Then there is the neighboring failed island state of Sri Lanka, in default and with a history of civil war that had drawn its neighbors into its disputes in the past.

Add to the geopolitical tensions, this comes at a time the region is experiencing unbelievable heat waves, affecting their economies and daily lives.

Everywhere, but surely here, the costs and availability of food, fertilizer, fuel, and access to concessional financing, along with an ongoing Covid pandemic, have created very difficult challenges for any government.

Into this mix are the political and religious differences between India and Pakistan (and China), and religious divide and territorial disputes over Kashmir, which have brought them in the past to armed conflict and lingering mistrust.

India and Pakistan never-ending disputes, plus China and Russia in the mix
India and Pakistan have been at odds since independence in 1947 from Great Britain and have fought four wars over the Kashmir region.


Comment by Riaz Haq on June 11, 2022 at 8:28am

Spotlight on Two Nuclear Powers: India and Pakistan
Factors increasing both countries’ confrontational risks include the war in Ukraine, rivalries with China and Russia, climate change and pandemics

https://impakter.com/spotlight-two-nuclear-powers-india-pakistan/

India and Pakistan never-ending disputes, plus China and Russia in the mix
India and Pakistan have been at odds since independence in 1947 from Great Britain and have fought four wars over the Kashmir region.

With regard to nuclear policy, India initially declared a No First Use policy, vowing to never use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. However, in 2019 India signaled it was reconsidering this policy.

Unlike India, Pakistan has never declared a No First Use policy and has proceeded to emphasize smaller battlefield or “tactical” nuclear weapons as a counter to India’s larger and superior conventional forces.

Even a small nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan could kill 20 million people in a week.

If a nuclear winter is triggered, nearly 2 billion people in the developing world would be at risk of death by starvation.

India and Pakistan are at odds on many fronts but certainly exacerbated by religious differences, in each case supported by large political majorities, and ultra-national sub-groups, which morph into exclusionary national identity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been actively persuading India’s 80% Hindu population that they are under threat—and will only prosper if they support the ideology of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism.

Recent public comments on air by a high-level BJP official disparaging the Prophet Muhammad have exploded across the Moslem world. Despite efforts to distance itself, the actions taken may not be enough to quell what is a diplomatic crisis for India’s relations with countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.

For its external big power support, recently India has moved its alliances more to the United States, and away from Russia, its past primary military hardware supplier.

Pakistan, on the other hand, is officially the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the second-largest primarily Sunni Muslim population in the world. A new Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif was elected in April 2022 and in his first address said, “he will expedite the multibillion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and rebuild broken ties with partners and allies.”

Pakistan’s ties to China go back to the time China chose sides in the 2019 India-Pakistan dispute when India revoked Kashmir’s autonomy in August 2019 and sought to incorporate parts of “Xinjiang and Tibet into its Ladakh union territory,” which China considered violating its own dominion of Tibet.

Mass disenfranchisement of Kashmiri Muslims, deteriorating security, economic backsliding, and a contentious political agenda are causing ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan, building on historical friction in the region.

On its parallel track, Pakistan strengthened its relations with Russia, which has continued despite international condemnation of its invasion of Ukraine. An alliance with Russia had been agreed to by former governments, and now goes forward with the Pakistan Stream Gas Project, also known as the North-South gas pipeline, a multi-billion effort to be built with Russian financing and in collaboration with their companies.

In short, territorial, and ethnic tensions remain high, the two countries have chosen different global “sugar daddies,” with both having significant nuclear arsenals.

Not a promising picture for peace.

Two other factors adding to nuclear risks: climate change and pandemics
India and Pakistan are located in a part of the world that is particularly exposed to the threats of climate change and given huge populations and poor health systems are vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 11, 2022 at 8:28am

Spotlight on Two Nuclear Powers: India and Pakistan
Factors increasing both countries’ confrontational risks include the war in Ukraine, rivalries with China and Russia, climate change and pandemics

https://impakter.com/spotlight-two-nuclear-powers-india-pakistan/

Two other factors adding to nuclear risks: climate change and pandemics
India and Pakistan are located in a part of the world that is particularly exposed to the threats of climate change and given huge populations and poor health systems are vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases.

Here is what you can expect in terms of impacts on both countries.

South Asia Feels the Heat: On most climate maps, this is the hottest region on the planet. Scorching temperatures were already reached in March 2022 at degrees not usually happening until June.

This current heat wave in India and Pakistan is not a lone event; on the contrary, with the acceleration of global warming, it is estimated to be 30 times more likely than compared to preindustrial times. And it has led to a deep reduction in agricultural output, as wheat crops withered, and mango crops were lost, exacerbating food insecurity, and threatening Indians and Pakistanis with limited income.

Those at or near the poverty levels have limited alternatives to cooling themselves, with millions of villages without any access to basic electricity, and for those living in urban slums, many are too poor to afford it even if it were available.

Roop Singh, a climate risk adviser with the International Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center, makes the point that with more middle-income households having air conditioning, this means widespread power outages in part because the need for more cooling strains the electrical grids, and in part because of a coal shortage in India. “This is particularly impactful for people who might have access to a fan or to a cooler but might not be able to run it because they can’t afford a generator,” she said.

Medical and climate scientists have determined there is a “hard limit” when human tolerance is breached, the ‘wet-bulb’ temperature beyond which the human body is no longer viable. The wet-bulb temperature reflects not only heat but also how much water (humidity) is in the air.

“If the wet-bulb temperature reading is higher than our body temperature, that means that we cannot cool ourselves to a temperature tolerable for humans by evaporating sweat and that basically means you can’t survive,” said Tapio Schneider, a California Institute of Technology climate scientist and professor.

A recent Science Advances study found that some places have already experienced conditions too hot and humid for human survival, including Pakistan where there has been a wet-bulb temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. “That kind of temperature would make it impossible to sweat enough to avoid overheating, organ failure and eventual death.”




According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, should global emissions continue as they are, places in India and Pakistan will approach these limits in this century.

Even before reaching “hard limits” at “adaptation levels”, the impact of unbelievably high heat levels is increasingly threatening living conditions throughout South Asia.

Recalling the lessons in Gunnar Myrdal’s historical work “Asian Drama”, when large numbers of people and communities are incapable of dealing with daily life and it becomes intolerable and without hope, the inevitable consequence is that social peace disintegrates.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 11, 2022 at 8:29am

Spotlight on Two Nuclear Powers: India and Pakistan
Factors increasing both countries’ confrontational risks include the war in Ukraine, rivalries with China and Russia, climate change and pandemics

https://impakter.com/spotlight-two-nuclear-powers-india-pakistan/


Recalling the lessons in Gunnar Myrdal’s historical work “Asian Drama”, when large numbers of people and communities are incapable of dealing with daily life and it becomes intolerable and without hope, the inevitable consequence is that social peace disintegrates.

This translates into civil disorder and widespread popular anger directed at their leaders. And often when leaders are not able or unwilling to provide meaningful assistance, they evoke external threats (real or imagined) and blame outsiders as a way to both distract and unite their subjects.

When disastrous living conditions occur in both urban and rural areas, political leaders in weak governments look to external escapism politics, a scenario with a high realism index in today’s South-Asian sub-continent. And with an obvious fallout on Pakistan’s and India’s nuclear policies.

The COVID Factor: The current pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of human activity, including international efforts in nuclear arms control and disarmament, and the work of the 1968 Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Non-Proliferation Treaty, NPT).

In South Asia, there was no official ongoing India–Pakistan, China–India, or China–Pakistan nuclear dialogue prior to Covid. The pandemic effectively stopped all in-person, non-official contacts which might have led to such engagement.

The pandemic and its accompanying worldwide panic shed light on why it is a mistake for governments to expend huge sums on building nuclear arsenals and war-fighting capabilities at the expense of basic economic and social needs.

The prospect of new variants of Covid-19, such as Omicron, and/or another potential readily transmissible virus underscores the fact that these can be very costly and destabilizing events, epidemics, and pandemics that undermine stability and even nations’ survival.

Covid infections in India– at least during the first two years– went massively unreported both in terms of morbidity and mortality. In Pakistan, both numbers were and have been considerably lower than its neighbor, but massive underreporting is likely there as well.

According to recent data, these figures in both countries have declined. As of April 2022 reported cases in Pakistan were down while in India, by the end of May 2022, an average of 2,574 cases per day were reported, with deaths having decreased by 11 percent.

The reported drop in COVID-19 infection rates at present has meant less attention in the public space in both countries—at least for the moment.

Again, there is no assurance that new variants and a wave of infections will not happen, which could cumulatively add to inter-country political tensions, especially if there are accusations that new infections came from across the border.

It all adds up to a worrying picture
Overwhelming heat currently affecting South Asia means that tens of millions are living with very harmful dehydration, exhaustion, food insecurity, and the possibility of added infectious disease from the ongoing Covid pandemic.

Such conditions potentially pose a level of political unrest which very well may influence the political class of these two nuclear countries.

With fanatic groups on both sides of their borders looking for ways to undermine stability, it will not take much for either India or Pakistan leaders to feel pressed to react, then counter-react, each step bringing them to the brink of choosing nuclear.

Let us hope such a tipping point is never reached, that both cooler weather and heads prevail.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 22, 2022 at 5:18pm

WHAT THE INDIAN MILITARY WON’T LEARN FROM THE WAR IN UKRAINE
ANIT MUKHERJEE JUNE 21, 2022
COMMENTARY


https://warontherocks.com/2022/06/what-the-indian-military-wont-lea...

Much has been written about India’s diplomatic response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And military analysts worldwide are working to draw lessons from the first multi-domain conventional war between “modern” forces in decades. Yet amidst all this, the Indian military establishment itself does not seem appropriately concerned with drawing its own lessons from the war.

To date, India has focused on managing the fallout from Western sanctions and securing the serviceability of its Russian-origin platforms. The war has boosted India’s efforts to indigenize its defense industry and created opportunities for Western countries to enhance their strategic engagement with New Delhi. However, it has yet to influence Indian military thinking more broadly. It appears that pressing challenges and the limits of existing institutions will prevent India from reforming its forces in response.


Challenging Times

The Indian military is going through a period of considerable churn, making it harder to assimilate lessons from the Russo-Ukrainian war. Its foremost challenge is the rise of Chinese military power. Until recently, this was somewhat of an abstract concern. However, the Chinese military’s 2020 incursions in the Ladakh region have made this much more pressing. For diplomatic and domestic political purposes, these incursions were initially downplayed by the Indian government, but with the death of 20 Indian soldiers the issue gained national attention nonetheless. Amidst a tense stand-off along the disputed border, India has banned Chinese technological companies and the Indian president characterized Chinese actions in unusually blunt terms as an “expansionist move.” There have been 15 rounds of military-to-military border talks and, despite some disengagements, significant military assets are still deployed along the border. These deployments have further constrained India’s diplomatic position vis-à-vis Ukraine, as a significant proportion of its weapons platforms come from Russia.

At the same time, there is considerable excitement and, to a certain extent, confusion as the Indian military is undertaking its most consequential post-independence transformation yet. This effort was triggered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s somewhat surprising decision in August 2019 to establish the position of chief of defense, empowered with an explicit mandate to create joint theater commands. This set off an ongoing debate surrounding the position’s powers vis-à-vis the service chiefs, as well as the organizational structure of the proposed theater command and its relations with existing service formations. Some of these reform initiatives will take time, while in the meantime the Indian military had to deal with three strategic shocks. First, the Chinese incursions in Ladakh halted plans for theaterization of the army’s Northern Command, out of fears that organizational restructuring could lead to force imbalances. Second, the fall of Kabul has created new uncertainties, particularly in regard to the insurgency in Kashmir. Finally, the tragic death of the country’s first chief of defense, Gen. Bipin Rawat, in a December 2021 helicopter accident has also slowed the pace of reforms. Inexplicably, the government has yet to appoint a replacement, giving rise to questions about its commitment to reforms. Thus, despite much initial promise and acclaim, the outcome of the defense reforms process is far from certain. Needless to say, this makes it harder for the military to focus on a war taking place a continent away.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 22, 2022 at 5:18pm

WHAT THE INDIAN MILITARY WON’T LEARN FROM THE WAR IN UKRAINE
ANIT MUKHERJEE JUNE 21, 2022
COMMENTARY


https://warontherocks.com/2022/06/what-the-indian-military-wont-lea...

Dependence on Russian Equipment

The war has also generated more pressing difficulties. The Indian military is currently focused on maintaining its Russian-made equipment in the face of supply shortages and Western sanctions. Within weeks of the war, the government postponed its showpiece Defense Expo, ostensibly due to “logistics problems being experienced by participants.” The Indian Air Force pulled out of previously planned multilateral air exercises in the United Kingdom and, more significantly, postponed its showpiece large-scale triennial air exercise involving around 150 aircraft, “due to the developing situation.” This occurred amidst reports that the air force was curtailing exercises and sorties to preserve the life of its airframes. And these precautions extend beyond Russian-origin platforms. In the first few months after the outbreak of the war, the military reportedly also curtailed flights of its American-made Chinook helicopters. That such orders were passed reflects not only the military’s uneasiness about potential Western sanctions but also their fears about Washington’s reliability.

India’s dependence on Russian weapons is also reflected in its careful diplomatic response to the war. One independent analysis suggests that Russian-origin platforms constitute almost “85 percent of major Indian weapons systems,” although Indian officials argue it is more likely to be between 60 to 70 percent. Differences in methodology and interpretation of indigenous production may explain the varying numbers, but they nonetheless reveal a high level of dependency. With the imposition of Western sanctions and mounting Russian hardware losses, there are growing fears of a slowdown of certain weapon programs. For instance, there are reports of anticipated delays in the production of T-90 tanks and AK-203 assault rifles, the provision of aircraft upgrades, and the supply of spares for submarines and helicopters. In April, the Indian government also cancelled the planned acquisition of 48 Mi-17 helicopters, although it rejected the accusation that this reflected Western pressure by claiming the decision was “taken much before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.” Similarly, in May India halted negotiations with Russia to acquire 10 Kamov Ka-31 airborne early-warning helicopters “due to concerns over Moscow’s ability to execute orders as well as issues related to payment transfers.” All of these developments indicate not only India’s growing concern with the availability and reliability of Russian equipment, but also, in light of sanctions on electronic goods like computer chips, its continued quality.

What’s more, even before the current conflict India’s weapons acquisitions were already held hostage to the complex dynamics of the bitter marriage, now surely a divorce, between the Ukrainian and Russian defense industries. The defense industry in Ukraine was built during the time of the Soviet Union and, upon its dissolution, continued to share a somewhat symbiotic relationship with that in Russia. As a result, India depended upon both countries to obtain spare parts for its legacy platforms, and even when making new acquisitions. After Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, India felt the adverse impact of this co-dependency and sought out creative solutions, while continuing its engagements with both countries. As recently as last year, the biggest exhibitor at the Aero India show was Ukraine, which had big plans to increase defense cooperation with New Delhi. As a result, the war has delayed, for the foreseeable future, the planned upgrade of India’s An-32 military transport aircraft and acquisition of Talwar-class frigates, which are built in Russia but powered by Ukrainian gas turbine engines.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 22, 2022 at 5:19pm

WHAT THE INDIAN MILITARY WON’T LEARN FROM THE WAR IN UKRAINE
ANIT MUKHERJEE JUNE 21, 2022
COMMENTARY


https://warontherocks.com/2022/06/what-the-indian-military-wont-lea...


Silver Linings

Over the last few months, the Indian defense establishment has taken stock, anticipating delays, sorting through complex financial arrangements (mainly by exploring the rupee-ruble trade), and securing spares and maintenance support. The Russo-Ukrainian war and the Indian military’s struggle to ensure that its Russian platforms remain operational has added an urgency to indigenization efforts. The speed and extent of Western sanctions, especially financial and technological, have spurred greater interest in attaining “technological autonomy.”

As a result, one of the biggest effects of the war is to reinforce support for the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) initiative. Under this campaign, unveiled in 2020, the Modi government seeks to encourage domestic manufacturing and reduce dependency on foreign goods. In the defense realm, the government has taken several steps to facilitate this process. First, it is encouraging the private sector to play a larger role, under the assumption that such competition will lead to capability accretion, innovation, and technological absorption. Second, it is taking steps to better organize the moribund state-owned defense industry. Most prominently, it has reorganized ordnance factories and is pushing for more public-private partnerships. Third, the government has placed 310 defense items, ranging from lightweight tanks and torpedoes to artillery guns and other complex systems, on the “positive indigenization list,” meaning that they will no longer be imported. Fourth, the government has eased and encouraged exports of different kinds of weapon systems, leading India’s defense exports to grow almost six-fold over the last five years.

India’s desire to reduce its reliance on Russian platforms is also an opportunity for western powers to overcome some of the longstanding challenges to closer cooperation with New Delhi. Previously, Western powers, especially the United States, have been reluctant to share technology. As Aditi Malhotra observed in an excellent brief on the effects of the war in Ukraine, “the West is unlikely to provide India with the advanced defense technologies that Russia readily offers.” Indeed, despite all the brouhaha over the U.S.-Indian relationship, “the two countries do not have a single project that they can claim symbolizes the depth of their defense relationship.” The fault is partly structural, as the U.S. defense industry has very few (if any) preexisting models for co-producing weapon platforms.

To effectively partner with India in creating its next generation of weapons platforms, Western partners will have to convince New Delhi that these partnerships will be reliable and lasting. Fortunately, the Russo-Ukrainian war is leading to an acknowledgement by some in the West that deepening defense and technology ties with India is critical to their vision of a future world order. Yet whether policymakers in India and the West can realize a common vision remains to be seen. While some Western powers, like France, have gone further than others, engaging with India will still require a leap of faith.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 22, 2022 at 5:19pm

WHAT THE INDIAN MILITARY WON’T LEARN FROM THE WAR IN UKRAINE
ANIT MUKHERJEE JUNE 21, 2022
COMMENTARY


https://warontherocks.com/2022/06/what-the-indian-military-wont-lea...

To effectively partner with India in creating its next generation of weapons platforms, Western partners will have to convince New Delhi that these partnerships will be reliable and lasting. Fortunately, the Russo-Ukrainian war is leading to an acknowledgement by some in the West that deepening defense and technology ties with India is critical to their vision of a future world order. Yet whether policymakers in India and the West can realize a common vision remains to be seen. While some Western powers, like France, have gone further than others, engaging with India will still require a leap of faith.

Lessons Not Learned

Like most militaries, India’s has no dedicated institution either at the joint headquarters or in the services with a mandate to study operational lessons from “other people’s wars.” For that reason, there is no office dedicated to and appropriately staffed for analyzing such wars. Despite this, the government gave explicit orders to the Indian military “to study the Russian offensive into Ukraine and draw tactical lessons.” But it is unclear who has been tasked to do so and whether they will have access to adequate data to draw appropriate lessons. This is exacerbated by the ongoing and unexplained lack of a chief of defense. As a result, the joint staff does not carry as much institutional weight as it should, making it difficult to undertake objective analysis of the war free from service-specific prisms. To be sure, the service headquarters and lower formations must be carrying out individual studies at various levels, but they have limited situational awareness, institutional independence, and ability to influence policy. Indeed, it would not be surprising if stories later emerge about how each of the services drew their own institutionally preferred “lessons” from this war.

Nonetheless, Indian military analysts have been busy. They have largely discussed what is widely known about this war — the relevance of force in international relations, the return of conventional wars, the importance of logistics and theater commands for conducting operations, the dangers of relying on a conscript army, and the salience of drones. In addition, others have written on the importance of Starlink systems and of dominating the electromagnetic spectrum. Missing, however, is a detailed discussion of what this means for the Indian military’s current institutional structures or operating environment. To find that one would have to read the idiosyncratic Lt. Gen. H. S. Panag — never one to pull punches — who in a must-read article argues that the Indian military is “tailored for the wars of a bygone era,” and does not “have the technological military capability to defeat Pakistan or avoid a military embarrassment by China.” He then goes on to caution against the potential short-term drawbacks of relying on indigenization in a country with low domestic manufacturing capabilities.

In spite of these warnings, there is no evidence that the Indian military has undertaken any substantive changes to incorporate emerging technologies in warfare. This should be the primary focus for senior military officers as they think through the broader lessons of the war in Ukraine. Based on publicly available sources, there is also little indication that the war will lead to any significant changes in India’s military structures, doctrines, or training. On the contrary, to reduce its inflated manpower costs the Indian military has introduced a controversial, widely criticized “tour of duty” recruitment scheme — amounting to a quasi-conscript military. This has led to widespread public protests and is an all-consuming issue for senior defense officials. For them, as a result, the war in Ukraine must seem like a distant afterthought.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 22, 2022 at 5:20pm

WHAT THE INDIAN MILITARY WON’T LEARN FROM THE WAR IN UKRAINE
ANIT MUKHERJEE JUNE 21, 2022
COMMENTARY


https://warontherocks.com/2022/06/what-the-indian-military-wont-lea...


Militaries all over the world are closely observing the war in Ukraine, but some have proven prone to hubris — concluding that they have little to learn because they are different. It is tempting for foreign observers to attribute the failures of the Russian military to its lack of professionalism rather than the increased difficulty of waging modern war. In the short term, the Indian military is focused on managing the immediate disruption caused by the current conflict. In the medium to long term, it is focusing on indigenization, including exploring opportunities to partner with Western countries. Professionally, however, there are few indications that the military is embarking on defense reforms that draw on the lessons of the war. Unfortunately, that might require a bigger crisis somewhere closer to home.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 27, 2022 at 1:12pm

ASELSAN produces several EWSs and platforms, but one of them, KORAL, occupies a unique position and has played a critical role in Ankara’s recent involvements in several regional theatres. Although Turkey’s unmanned aerial combat vehicles (UACVs) have been making headlines in the last few years, the KORAL has been the invisible power behind their success.

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Not much credit is given to this system due to its silent role and lack of publicity; however, there is no doubt that this system has enabled Turkey’s strategic and military planners to boost the efficiency and lethality of its UACVs. This is not to underestimate the unique capabilities of Ankara’s drones, but rather to underscore the value and role of the KORAL.


The KORAL is a land-based transportable EWS with an effective range of 150–200 km. The system offers advanced options and supports Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) operations. It consists of two subsystems: the first provides electronic support operations for conducting ISR, while the other is dedicated to attack operations to degrade, neutralise or destroy enemy combat capabilities. This kind of operation usually involves the use of electromagnetic energy against communication systems and radar systems.

The KORAL was part of a Land-Based Stand-off Jammer System project adopted by the Defence Industry Executive Committee around two decades ago. It came as a response to increasing threats and to meet the growing needs of the Turkish air force command. The system was contracted in 2009, and within seven years, the KORAL EWS entered the Turkey Armed Forces’ (TSK) inventory. In this sense, the EWS filled a gap and offered new opportunities for the TSK.

Since 2016, the KORAL has been battle-tested in different environments, including critical theatres in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan, demonstrating impressive capabilities and executing complex roles in the first-ever wars won by unmanned systems. Ankara incorporated the KORAL in a new unconventional drone doctrine that prescribes the use of drones as an air force in a conventional battle. The doctrine requires a high level of cooperation, coordination and integration between the deployed EWS (KORAL in this case), the UAVs (Aerospace Anka-S and Bayraktar TB2) and the smart micro-munitions (MAM-L and MAM-C).

This innovative military doctrine has generated a lot of discussion. Many defence ministers, military experts and security analysts worldwide have called on their countries and armies to observe what Turkey has done in this field and to draw appropriate lessons, in order to be prepared for the new age of automated wars. During the Royal Air Force’s online Air and Space Power Conference 2020, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace urged the force to go in this direction, hinting that ‘Even if half the claims [about Turkey’s drones and EWSs] are true, the implications are game-changing’.

During Operation Spring Shield against the Syrian regime and pro-Iranian militias, the KORAL set the stage for Ankara’s drones by securing aerial dominance for the TSK. As a result, Turkey’s drones were able to wipe out a large portion of Bashar al-Assad’s army in Idlib using pinpoint technology. During the battle, the Assad regime lost 151 tanks, eight helicopters, three drones, three fighter jets (including two Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24s), around 100 armoured military vehicles, eight aerial defence systems, 86 cannons and howitzers, multiple ammunition trucks and one headquarters, among other military equipment and facilities. Additionally, the KORAL humiliated Russia’s technology, including the air defence systems (ADSs) designed specifically to counter such drone threats.

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