Interacting with the media, Mr Parrikar said there will be discussions to prepare the ground for inking some deals when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Russia in December 2015 for joint production of Kamov Ka-226 helicopters and the purchase of S-400 missile systems, which he expects will be coordinated by November.
He added there are proposals for small private sector companies interested in tying up with Russian companies to manufacture spares for Su-30 jets. Purchase of 48 more Mi-17V-5 helicopters is to be negotiated and finalised. Before Mr Parrikar’s visit, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared two projects for the upgradation of engines and avionics of IL-76 and IL-78 aircraft from Russia for `4,300 crore.
In a significant development, DAC also cleared deep-sea submarine rescue vessels which are required for the recovery of submarines or personnel on board a submarine in case of an accident. So far, India does not have a submarine rescue vessel and has been depending on the US for help.
In Moscow, he discussed several military projects with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, ranging from the acquisition of S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, to the leasing of a second nuclear-powered submarine.
Russia is still to address India’s technical and price concerns over the fifth-generation fighter project, which envisages IAF inducting the Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA) jets. Under the original plan, 127 of these fighters were to be built in India for over $25 billion. But India is now also examining the possibility of directly buying 60-65 Sukhoi T-50s since the co-production plan is much delayed. Mr Parrikar is also believed to have conveyed India’s concern on the growing Russia-Pakistan military relations, particularly the recent sale of four Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan and reports of Pakistan negotiating to acquire Su-35 fighters, considered more capable than India’s Su-30 MKI, although Moscow has reportedly denied that.
While on the diplomatic front the government has shown some assertiveness in the recent past, considering how well armed Pakistan has become in conventional and nuclear weapons, major aspects of the firm policy should be expediting arms replacements/acquisitions, which Mr Parrikar is pursuing.
On Pakistan’s hyperactive ceasefire violations and our responses, he remarked: “Pakistan does not like to stay quiet even on New Year’s day. They started cross-border firing at 12.30 in the night and don’t seem to have learnt any lesson. There are ceasefire violations. Whenever they want infiltration, they fire at night. I don’t think that we have allowed that to happen. Our response is more than double the capacity.”
While what Mr Parrikar stated is quite true about India’s responses on the International Boundary /Line of Control and is one of the main reasons for Pakistan’s desperation, it is high time the BJP government forms a clear and constant policy on dealing with Pakistan’s duplicity, lies and its Army’s/ISI’s intentions/plans for the future.
The deportation of Mumbai underworld don Chhota Rajan has reportedly given Pakistan enough jitters to highly tighten Dawood Ibrahim’s security, in a definite indication that Rajan may know a lot about Dawood’s anti-Indian activities. While being taken for questioning in Bali, Rajan is reported to have said that Dawood is in Pakistan under the protection of the ISI. The Pakistan Army has reportedly deployed special commandos at Dawood’s posh residences in Karachi and Islamabad where he has been living since the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. Does this mean that Pakistan is so apprehensive that an external intelligence agency may try to flush out India’s most wanted man from his home there?
Home minister Rajnath Singh has reportedly said that Dawood keeps changing his location in Pakistan and also stated in Parliament that the government will leave no stone unturned to bring back Dawood. He has been quoted in media as saying, “The Indian government is committed to bringing back Dawood.”
While the highly upgraded security around Dawood may be the Pakistan Army’s knee-jerk reaction, is it a coincidence that there are similar fears about Hafiz Sayeed as well, because his security has also been recently beefed up? Is the Pakistan Army jittery about a heightened external threat against Sayeed also? Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (Retd), MoS for I&B, stated in a TV interview that India was ready to neutralise its enemies and that a covert operation against wanted criminals Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan was possible. He was quoted as saying that it was noted that fugitives like Dawood and Saeed are living peacefully in Pakistan. “We may do it (covert operation) but there will be no publicity before that. After the operation, there may be or there may not be. It depends on whether the government says it should be ‘covert operation’ or a ‘special operation’.”
He mentioned the government’s approach of using “saam, daam, dand, bhed (saam: to advise; daam: to buy; dand: to punish; bhed: secret)”, though he later denied it.
Responses must match the arsenal, the capability and the political will to implement effective measures to neutralise the adversary — silently but surely.