Experts Speak

  • November 15, 2017
    India, US, Japan, Australia quadrilateral kicks off
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    November 12, 2017 witnessed the first meeting of officials of India, US, Japan and Australia meeting at Manila, giving shape to security cooperation...

  • November 15, 2017
    Continued US military assistance to Pakistan is unfortunate
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    When President Donald Trump unveiled his new Af-Pak policy on 21 August 2017 through a televised speech, he was most direct in telling Pakistan how it has been playing the double game with the US.

  • November 15, 2017
    No to Tejas and Arjun by military is misinformation
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The media is agog with the news that the Armed Forces have said no to the indigenous Tejas fighter and the Arjun Tank.

  • November 15, 2017
    Joint Training Doctrine
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As a follow up to the ‘Joint Doctrine, Indian Armed Forces - 2017’ in April this year, the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) has now issued...

  • November 15, 2017
    Nirbhay-BrahMos Combo — Nemesis of adversaries
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    December 21, 2016 was bad for India when the trial test of the nuclear-capable ‘Nirbhay’ long-range cruise missile failed for the third time. According to DRDO officials, “The booster engine in Nirbhay’s first stage started working. The missile lifted off from its launcher.

  • November 15, 2017
    The Doodle of Indo-Pak talks
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Much speculation is in the air that Indo-Pak talks are round the corner and that foreign pressure will make Pakistan slowly come around. Nothing could be farther from the truth despite Pakistan’s sweet pill of granting wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet him.

  • November 8, 2017
    Different rifle for infantry and others?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Going by media reports, the Army is going in for equipping infantry soldiers with a world-class assault rifle, while non-infantry soldiers would get a cheaper, "less effective", indigenous rifle.

  • November 8, 2017
    Downing drones - Russian style
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In a previous issue in these columns it was brought out how seriously the US is tackling the menace of drones, having contending with their onslaughts in the fight with the Islamic State.

  • November 8, 2017
    The tunnel threat
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    On September 30 this year, the BSF discovered a 14-foor secret tunnel (below the border fence) in Arnia Sector of Jammu. This was the second big tunnel detected by the BSF aside the international border over the last seven months, previous one being in the Ramgarh Sector in Samba region.

  • November 8, 2017
    Afghanistan via Chabahar — Strategic move
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Iran in May 2016, The trilateral engagement between India, Iran and Afghanistan was historic, expanding avenues of trade for India with Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia through the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

  • November 8, 2017
    Army’s image building
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has received considerable flak on social media for having told the media that he agreed to build three foot over bridges in Mumbai for building the image of the Army.

  • October 23, 2017
    Defence Minister's Diwali in Andaman & Nicobar Command
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's two day visit to the Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC), and spending Diwali with the troops and families was a nice gesture.

  • October 23, 2017
    Sham hostage rescue gets Pakistan kicked
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    It is becoming quite apparent that the recent marathon nine-hour conference that Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistani army chief had with his corps commanders included plans how to continue befooling the US; aim being to convince the Americans that Pakistan was sincere in cooperating with them in fighting terrorism.

  • October 23, 2017
    Combating Drones
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    On 13 October 2017, the Taliban claimed downing a US drone in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan.

  • October 23, 2017
    Swati Weapon Locating Radar - Good development
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As Pakistan plunges more into the dungeons of terrorism and toss morals and ethics aside, its military is targeting more and more villages in cross-border...

  • October 23, 2017
    Modular bunkers - Define priorities first
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    According to media reports the Army is looking for Lego-like modular, portable, bullet and blast-proof bunkers to replace stone-mud-log and steel shelters as it secures the nation's frontiers against China and Pakistan.

  • October 17, 2017
    Visit of James Mattis — And Indo-US Defence Cooperation
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    US Secretary of Defence James Mattis arrived on a two-day visit at New Delhi on September 25 to hold talks with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. He is the first cabinet rank official under the Trump administration to visit India.

  • October 17, 2017
    The Rohingya Challenge
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The latest wave of Rohingya terrorist violence began on August 25, 2017, with multiple police and army posts targeted in Myanamr. According to one report in the early hours of August 25, 150 armed Rohingyas attacked 24 Police Stations and an Army Base in Mangdu district of Rakhine State of Myanmar that left 71 dead.

  • October 17, 2017
    The FICV Project — delayed inordinately
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Indian Army's quest for the indigenous future infantry combat vehicle (FICV) is in the news again with the US offering India development and production of armoured...

  • October 17, 2017
    China’s Airborne Brigades
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    During the recent 15-day competition of the International Army Games 2017 held in China during July-August this year, Chinese airborne troops won first place in 11 of the 12 events, winning the overall championship in the platoon level airborne competition.

  • October 17, 2017
    Border Rejig, Infiltration and Terroristan
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Recent media reports headlined 'Army changes tack, puts tanks at Akhnoor' describe deployment of tanks and armoured vehicles in Chammb-Jaurian sector of J&K that had witnessed pitched battles during 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.

  • September 20, 2017
    Modi's Myanmar visit – And the Rohingya issue
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Myanmar on September 5 for a two–day visit on his way back from the 9th BRICS Summit at Xiamen in China.

  • September 20, 2017
    Border infrastructure – Execution is the key
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The Doklam standoff has brought into focus once again the poor infrastructure that India has. As on date, only 27 roads' (963-km) of the 73 strategic roads approved for construction (totaling (4,643-km) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) over 15 years ago have been completed.

  • September 20, 2017
    Parrying ToT – US Defence firms spoof Make in India
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    It is well known that US firms Lockheed Martin and Boeing are bidding to enter the 'Make in India' initiative for supplying combat jets and military equipment to India.

  • September 20, 2017
    Indo-Japanese Strategic Partnership boosted
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Indo-Japanese relations have always been special. Even during the recent Doklam standoff, it was Japan's envoy to India Kenji Hiramatsu who said there should be no attempt to change the status quo on the ground by force; categorizing the crisis...

  • September 20, 2017
    Wonder Gun ATAGS – And charge of importomania
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The DRDO-indigenous private industry Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) has arrived on the scene with a bang. The ATAGS is a 155mm, 52-calibre gun-howitzer being developed on two parallel tracks – one prototype in partnership with Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division) and another with Bharat Forge.

  • September 20, 2017
    Indo-Russian defence ties – Waning is misnomer
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Even as the armies of India and US are engaged in joint military two-week exercise 'Yudh Abhyas 2017' to hone their skills in counter insurgency and counter terror operations under a joint brigade headquarters at a military base in Washington...

  • September 13, 2017
    No Nonsense Approach of the New Defence Minister
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

    So while the enthusiasm of the Defence Minister to interact with the Service Chiefs is most welcome and is praiseworthy, we recommend that she should pay more attention to the Department of Defence Production, the Ordnance Factory Board...

  • September 12, 2017
    Various challenges facing the new Defence Minister
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Mrs Sitharaman holding independent charge of Ministry of Commerce & Industry did have an overview of the pathetic state of equipping of the military; the chapter on defence on official website of Ministry of Commerce & Industry in 2014...

  • September 4, 2017
    Lady at the Helm of Affairs
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    The challenges before the new Minister of Defence are formidable. Given her track record, the Indian armed forces are full of hope for better days ahead!

  • September 4, 2017
    Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman as Raksha Mantri
    By Rear Admiral Sushil Ramsay (Retd.)

    Appointment of Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday, September 03, 2017 as the Defence Minister of India was welcomed as a refreshing news.

  • September 4, 2017
    New Defence Minister
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman has been appointed as the next Defence Minister. She is not the first lady holding this appointment since Indira Gandhi also held this portfolio, same as Sheikh Hasina in Bangladesh Today. But she certainly is the first 'full-time' lady Defence Minister of India.

  • September 4, 2017
    President Trump's Af-Pak Policy
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Pakistan's has been playing the double game successfully all these years despite US and NATO military commanders in Afghanistan pointing out what the ground situation was; implying terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan must be destroyed.

  • September 4, 2017
    Visit of Nepalese PM amidst Doklam standoff
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's four-day visit to India commencing August 23 was his first foreign visit since assuming office in June 2017.

  • September 4, 2017
    Selective Military Reforms – Why not holistic?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Based on recommendations of the government-appointed Lt Gen D B Shekatkar Committee "Enhancing Combat Capability and Rebalancing Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces", government has approved 65 of the 188 Committee recommendations mainly pertain to Army that included redeploying 57,000 personnel.

  • September 4, 2017
    Ignoring the Foot Soldier – Chronic malady
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    According to media reports, the Army is slated to get the advanced medium-range-surface to air missile (MRSAM) capable of shooting down ballistic missiles, fighter jets...

  • September 4, 2017
    Doklam Pullback – Advantage Modi
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    There is no doubt that the simultaneous pullback from the Doklam standoff by the Indian Military and the PLA is advantage Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Asia Times aptly summed up what India resolutely conveyed to China, "What's certainly clear is that India has no appetite for being pushed around by its increasingly hegemonic neighbor (China)".

  • August 22, 2017
    The Doklam Standoff
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd.)

    In all cases of boundary disputes between two countries, the sticking points evolve on the basis of historical records and differing perceptions of the boundary lines because of the inaccuracies of the old surveys and/or the mental conditionings of the people...

  • August 21, 2017
    Army to optimise robots
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As per media reports, MoD has approved a proposal put up by the Army to "build indigenous robots" that are designed to deliver ammunition at targeted locations.

  • August 21, 2017
    Army's BSS – Still hiccupping
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Battlefield surveillance relates to the ability to obtain real or near-real time all weather picture of battle space. This encompasses human intelligence (HUMINT), technology related imagery intelligence (IMINT) and signal or communication intelligence (SIGINT) together with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).

  • August 21, 2017
    Apaches for Army Aviation – Long overdue
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In September 2015, India had signed a deal for procuring 22 Apache helicopters from the US at the cost of Rs 13,952 crore for the IAF. Following this, the Army had sought government approval for acquiring 11 Apache helicopters as as "a follow-on contract".

  • August 21, 2017
    The Tank Biathlon fiasco – Need for introspection
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Naturally there was great euphoria when during the run up to the semifinal for the recent Tank Biathlon held at the 2017 International Army Games at the Alabino Range training ground outside Moscow, where the Indian team performed exceedingly...

  • August 21, 2017
    The Doklam spill
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Never had one heard of any military in the world stooping so low as to indulge in stone-pelting.

  • August 21, 2017
    Indo-US Defence Cooperation – Geostrategic elevation
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The US Departments of Defence (DoD) and State Department, in a recent joint report to their Congress, said, "We see a growing convergence with India on our strategic outlook for the region, and we view India as an increasingly important regional security partner within and beyond the Indo-Asia-Pacific region."

  • August 11, 2017
    Confronting the Dragon
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    The need of the hour is for the Indian armed forces to be prepared to meet with the challenges of a two-front war in the worst case scenario.

  • Issue 3 - 2017
    Theatre Commands - Long Overdue
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The functioning of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) has, to date, revealed serious weaknesses in its ability to provide single point military advice to the government, and resolve substantive inter-Service doctrinal, planning, policy and operational issues adequately.

  • August 10, 2017
    Enhancement of Defence Budget 2017-18
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd.)

    A few days ago there was a report in the media regarding non-availability of certain categories of ammunition which was causing great concern among the Services...

  • August 10, 2017
    Pakistan – in US terror spotlight
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The US has listed Pakistan among the nations providing "safe havens" to terrorists, saying terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and JeM continued to operate, train, organize and fundraise inside the country.

  • August 10, 2017
    Switching military uniforms to Khadi would be retrograde
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    According to a media reports, the Khadi Villages Industries Commission (KVIC) had requested the Armed Forces to consider using Khadi uniforms for security personnel, and the Ministry of Defence has sent specifications of military uniforms to the KVIC.

  • August 10, 2017
    Additional defence allocation of Rs 20,000 crore will only bridge partial criticalities
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As per media reports, the MoD has sought an "urgent" additional allotment of Rs 20,000 crore for combat readiness of Armed Forces.

  • August 10, 2017
    First indigenous unmanned tank
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In 2006, it was announced that India will be pursuing technologies for developing a robotic army.

  • August 10, 2017
    UAV swarming – Needs focus
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Coinciding with China's military parade to mark the 90th birthday of the Peoples Liberation Army, China's first batch of unmanned aerial vehicles conducted live fire drills.

  • July 31, 2017
    Beyond the 18th Vijay Diwas
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    The 18th Vjay Diwas will be celebrated with the usual aplomb on July 26; wreath laying, homage and tributes to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in evicting the treacherous enemy.

  • July 31, 2017
    Terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims – What beyond?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    The dastardly terrorist attack on the bus carrying 60 Amarnath pilgrims returning post visiting the cave on July 10 indicates more terror in the offing, requiring ramped up security and adherence to rules of movement.

  • July 31, 2017
    CPEC – China's yokel of terror
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    According to Pakistani media, there was a major attack on Pakistan Navy at Jiwani in Gwadar on June 19 when four gunmen on two bikes ambushed a vehicle of navy officers when they were on a routine round. The attackers opened indiscriminate fire killing one officer and wounding five.

  • July 31, 2017
    Souring Iran-Pakistan relations
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    The decline in Iran-Pakistan relations is continuing, the major reason being the same as in India-Pakistan and Afghanistan-Pakistan relations; Pakistan sponsored terrorism. In May this year, Iran warned Pakistan that it would hit terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan if the Pakistani Government does not confront militants who carry out cross-border attacks.

  • July 31, 2017
    Special Operations Division
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    At the recent two day Unified Commanders' Conference held on 10-11 July, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra apprised the audience that the Defence Cyber & Space Agencies and Special Operations Division (SOD) will soon become a reality.

  • July 13, 2017
    Full Financial Powers to Vice-Chief of the Army Staff to Maintain Combat-Readiness
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

    Considering the prevailing threats across the Line of Control (LoC) against Pakistan...

  • July 7, 2017
    PM Modi's Historic Visit to Israel
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    Prime Minister Modi's visit to Israel from July 4 to July 6 was historic being the first Prime Minister of India to visit Israel. If the Israeli paper 'Marker' wrote on June 28 "Wake up: the most important PM of the world is coming", Modi's visit...

  • July 7, 2017
    Defined Strategic Partnership boosting Make in India – but much work remains
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    Defining the 'Strategic Partnership' (SP) took some 18 months after the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) 2016 was released. The private industry that had been waiting with baited breath, responded immediately.

  • July 7, 2017
    Why are Kashmiris killing Their Own?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    It was in August 2016 that Asim Umar, chief of Al Qaeda's South Asia branch (AQIS) gave the call for Indian Muslims to rise and carry out lone wolf attacks in India particularly targeting IPS and IAS officers. Shaped in radicalized seminaries and madrassas of Pakistan, he is tasked for terrorism from Afghanistan to Myanmar. His mother organization HUJI ran branches in Kashmir and Myanmar, so Ayaman Zawahri feels he can deliver.

  • July 7, 2017
    Another ISRO Milestone – more to follow
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    As the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket's XL variant lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 9.29 AM on June 23, carrying earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series weighing 712 kg and 30 co-passenger satellites...

  • July 7, 2017
    India-China Standoff – deliberate Chinese move
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    On June 20, Bhutan served a demarche to China against the Chinese arbitrary action of constructing a road the Doklam Plateau, which is property of the King of Bhutan. The demarche, a formal statement, was served through the Chinese embassy in Delhi on June 20 since Bhutan and China do not have diplomatic relations.

  • July 7, 2017
    Chahabar – and US-Iran tensions
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)

    The trilateral engagement between India, Iran and Afghanistan during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Iran in May 2016 was historic, expanding avenues of trade for India with Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia through the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

  • June 30, 2017
    A Historic Meeting
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    The historic meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump is expected to propel the relationship between India and the US to greater heights.