HEADLINES:
Possible sale of one more Boeing C-17 aircraft to India approved – Pentagon। President Trump tweets: Look forward to welcoming to India’s PM Modi to White House on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend! । Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for three-nation tour to Portugal, US and the Netherlands June 24 । India, Portugal sign MoUs in areas of Space, and Collaborative Research । Agreements signed during PM Modi’s first leg visit of the three-nation tour । US clears sale of 22 General Atomics Sea Guardian drones for Indian Navy । Deal likely to be announced during PM Modi’s visit to Washington June 26 । These unmanned, or Remotely Piloted, Aircraft will be used for ISR Missions in Indian Ocean । The G-to-G deal, under the US FMS program, should be around $2 Billion । India launches Cartosat-2 along with 30 other satellites June 23 । PSLV-C38, the 40th flight of PSLV, carrying 31 satellites took off from first launch pad of SDSC Sriharikota । President Mukherjee, PM Modi and the Defence Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the successful launch । Lockheed Martin, Tata announce F16 India Partnership । Partnership aims to produce F16 Block 70 in India if selected by IAF । GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) orders 100 A320neo aircraft । Paris Air Show 2017 opens at Le Bourget, France June 19 । Chairman COSC and CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba on a visit to Isreal। India, Pakistan become full member of SCO। India’s entry into SCO was backed by Russia, and Pakistan’s membership by China। PM Modi calls on Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of SCO। He also thanked the Chinese President for supporting India’s entry into SCO। Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchange greetings with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in the Leader’s Lounge before the SCO concert in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan। It was the first time the two had met in nearly a year, during which period bilateral relations have deteriorated। PM Modi greeted his Pakistani counterpart and asked about PM Sharif’s health and about the health of his mother । Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs for 2-day visit to Astana, Kazakhstan to attend SCO Summit । India to be admitted as full member of SCO during the Summit । India signed Paris climate pact for its commitment towards protecting the environment, says EAM Sushma Swaraj । The EAM said this during MEA’s annual conference in New Delhi June 5 । It did not sign the pact of any greed or fear from any country: EAM । Ms Swaraj was rebutting US President Trump’s allegation saying India signed the deal to receive billions of foreign aid । India successfully launches communication satellite GSAT 19 June 5 । The heaviest ever rocket GSLV Mk III carrying GSAT 19 lifted off from SDSC (SHAR) Sriharikota । Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE cut diplomatic ties to Qatar । The 4 Gulf nations took the step following Qatar’s relations with Iran and support of Islamist groups। They also cut off its land, sea and air routes to the outside world । Libya, Yemen also joined the four Arab nations in snapping ties with Qatar । India, Russia sign pact for two nuclear power units at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu । INS Kalvari, the Indian Navy’s first Scorpene class submarine, will be battle ready from Day One, French collaborator DCNS announced June 1 । Kalvari, meaning shark, will be commissioned in July । Kalvari is the first of the six modern submarines ordered by the Indian Navy । Indian Navy is looking at 200 ships and 400 aircraft, all with hitech systems । Vice Adm Karambir Singh also told a seminar on Future Indian Navy that poor quality systems are not acceptable । Indian shipyards are building 40 ships at present । PM Modi reaches St. Petersburg in the 3rd leg of his 4-nation visit । He is to participate in 18th India Russia Annual Summit and SPIEF 2017 । India, Spain sign 7 agreements including one each on Cyber Security and Civil Aviation । Naval Chief Adm Sunil Lanba calls for cutting edge technologies with a Made in India stamp । Addressing a seminar on Building India’s Future Navy, he said ToT from foreign vendors would be say now with Strategic Partnership model । Adm Lanba said selection process for shipboard fighter is moving at desired pace and they should be inducted in about 5 years । About 80 killed, several injured in a bomb blast near Indian embassy in Kabul । Indian embassy staff were safe: MEA । PM reached Madrid on the second leg of his tour for a day- long visit to Spain May 31 । India, Germany sign 11 MoUs including one on Cyber Security । MoUs signed during Prime Minister Modi’s 2-day Germany visit on May 29-30 । We are made for each-other, says PM Modi on India-Germany ties । The Prime Minister is on 4-nation tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France from May 29-June 3 । India’s distinguished police officer, Mr KPS Gill passed away at 82 । Hassan Rouhani re-elected Iranian President । Prime Minister Modi congratulated him on his re-election । India, Palestine sign 5 MoUs including one on visa exemption for diplomatic passport holder । Agreements were signed after Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with President Abbas May 16 । Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas is on 4-day State visit to India beginning May 14 । Abbas is visiting India on the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee । This is the fifth visit and the third State visit of President Abbas to India । Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Colombo May 11 on his two-day visit to Sri Lanka । He was received by his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickramsinghe on his arrival at the Colombo airport । PM Modi is the chief guest at the International Vesak Day celebrations of Sri Lanka । India marks 19th National Technology Day । National Technology Day is marked to commemorate the anniversary of Pokhran nuclear tests of 1998 । On this day, Prime Minister Modi hails the then PM Vajpayee’s courage to conduct the nuclear tests । India launches GSAT-9 satetllite from Sriharikota । India to make Israeli rifles and small arms । Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) collaborating in the venture । Trump to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia this month । This will be his first foreign visit as US President । India, Turkey signed three agreements including one between the Foreign Services Institute of India and the Diplomacy Academy of Turkey । Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on President Mukherjee, Vice President Ansari, PM Modi and EAM Sushma Swaraj during his State visit to India । The Turkish President, visiting from April 30-May 1, backs India in fight against terrorism । Turkey conveyed its support for India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) । PM Modi expressed his gratitude on Turkey’s support । Indian Army celebrates 79th Armour Day । On 1 May 1938, Scinde Horse cavalry regiment was equipped with Vickers tanks and Chevrolet armoire cars । The Indian Army’s Armourerd Corps has played decisive role against Pakistani intruders in 1947, 1965 and 1971। India, Cyprus sign 4 agreements including one on Air Service Agreement । Agreements signed during Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades’s visit to India April 28 । Cyprus President called on President Mukherjee, Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi । The visiting President and PM Modi agreed on urgent need for all countries to decisively act against the states supporting factories of terrorism । PM Modi also thanked the Cyprus President for his support to India’s claim of Permanent Membership in UNSC । North Korea test fires a ballistic missile which landed in the Sea of Japan । India, Sri Lanka ink pacts on economic cooperation and road infrastructure development । The agreements signed during Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India । Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on him । Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar accompanied Sushma Swaraj when the latter called on the visiting Sri Lankan PM । India-Russia defence engagement will continue to grow, says Defence Minister Arun Jaitley । He was speaking at the 6th Moscow Conference on International Security in Moscow । India, Russia are celebrating 70 years of Diplomatic Relationship । China launches its first indigenous aircraft carrier । The new carrier will accommodate 36 aircraft and will be commissioned in 2020 after sea trials । It’s a 50000 ton platform with a ski jump deck modeled on Soviet carriers but has many design innovations । India, South Korea Sign Inter-Governmental MoU for Defence Industry Co-Operation in Shipbuilding । The MoU signed by Secretary (Defence Production), India, Ashok Kumar Gupta and Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration (DAPA), South Korea, Chang Myoung-Jin । The Inter-Governmental MoU was conceived under the overall umbrella of the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ between both countries । The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) accorded its approval for signing the MoU । The CCS also gave a go ahead for nominating Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Visakhapatnam for collaboration । Indian Navy successfully test-fires land attack version of Brahmos supersonic cruise missile । Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari calls on President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Home Minister and Defence Minister in New Delhi Apr 18 । Nepalese President is on a State visit to India April 17-21 । This is her first ever visit to India since taking over in 2015 । She was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour on her arrival at Rashtrapati Bhawan । Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Singh Sajjan, called on Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday । He was presented a Tri-Services Guard of Honour on his arrival at South Block । 12 killed in Saudi military helicopter in Yemen । Unconfined reports say the Blackhawk was accidentally shot down by a Saudi Patriot missile। US NSA Gen HR McMaster meets Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi । Gen McMaster also exchanged views on Indo-US relations with Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar । Happy Easter । US drops its biggest 21,000 pound bomb on ISIS in Afghanistan April 13 । Designated GBU 43, the Mother of All Bombs is designed to hit deep caves and tunnels in hardy mountains । GBU 43 is the biggest non-nuclear bomb, carried by the US Air Force (USAF) and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) । White House Press Secretyary Sean Spricer confirmed the night bombing but there was no immediate word from Taliban । Spicer said the ISIS terroists were targeted as they used the caves and tunnels to hit the US forces । GBU 43 is a concussion bomb carrying an explosive charge of 8,500 kg, equal to 11 tons of TNT । India, Australia sign 6 MoUs including on Combating Terrorism and Civil Aviation Security । Agreements signed during Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull’s Visit to India April 10 । He calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । This is the first ever visit of Turnbull after taking over as Australian PM in 2015 । The Australian PM along with his Indian counterpart took a Delhi metro ride to visit city-based Akshardham Temple । India, Bangladesh signed 22 agreements April 8 including key pacts on defence cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation । India announced an additional $4.5-billion concessional line of credit for infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, and another $500 million for Dhaka to procure defence equipment from New Delhi । A joint India-Bangladesh event saw both PMs honour the 1,661 Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 war for Bangladesh’s independence । Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrives in New Delhi for 4-day State visit to India । Prime Minister Modi himself goes to the airport to greet the Bangladesh PM on her arrival । External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj calls on Sheikh Hasina at Rashtrapati Bhawan । She is the special guest of President Pranab Mukherjee during her State visit to India । The Bangladesh PM has a full day of bilateral discussions with her Indian counterpart on Saturday (April 8) । 20 agreements are expected to be signed between India and Bangladesh । India, Malaysia sign 7 agreements । The agreements signed during Malaysian PM Najib Razak’s visit to India from March 30 to April 4 । Malaysian PM calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । India and Malaysia joint statement, issued after Modi, Razak meeting, calls for a deeper ties between the two nations ।
June 28, 2017
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Tavor’s Winning Aim

Israel Set to Win Big Indian Orders for Assault Rifles
By Gulshan Luthra and Shweta Sehgal Published: May 2017
 

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New Delhi/ Malanpur. Israel has initiated a smart step towards winning huge orders for the Indian Army’s basic assault rifle and small arms by forming a joint venture with India’s Punj Lloyd industrial house.

Tavor, made by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), is already the weapon of choice for the Indian Army for its specialized units, and as the Army is seeking to replace its existing stock of indigenous INSAS 5.56mm rifles with a lighter and more powerful weapon, different variants of Tavor stand a good chance of being the standard weapon for the Indian soldier in the years to come.

As per the new defence acquisition rules under Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016, all major weapon purchases have to come with Transfer of Technology and gradual Make in India projects. By signing the agreement with Punj Lloyd, even without a confirmed large order, IWI has apparently placed itself ahead of three or four other competitors in the selection process.

IWI and Punj Lloyd have formed the Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems (PLR), whose first production facility was inaugurated on May 4 at Malanpur in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Madhya Pradesh already has a chunk of the Indian defence industry, albeit in the public sector, and Mr Chouhan promised all possible assistance to the private sector also in expanding the defence industrial base in the state.

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IWI has 49 per cent share, and Punj Lloyd, the majority 51 per cent. Notably, this is India’s first small arms manufacturing venture in the private sector, and literally defines the move as Tavor’s Winning Aim.

Present on the occasion were Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water & Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar, senior military and police officials, Israel’s Ambassador in New Delhi Daniel Carmon.

Mishel-Ben-Baruch But a highly significant presence on the occasion was that of Mr Michel Ben-Baruch, Head of SIBAT, the International Defence Cooperation Directorate of the Israeli Ministry of Defence. He observed: “Israel’s Ministry of Defense fully and wholeheartedly supports this cooperation and will continue to support the transfer of technology and information also in the future, for the betterment of improved advanced tools. Israel and India consider their defense industry cooperation as a monumental step forward, towards a future of immense potential.”

At a later stage, PLR is also likely to manufacture X95 carbine, Galil sniper rifle, and Negev Light Machine Gun (LG).

Atul-Punj-Chairman-Punj-Lloyd-The-Dollar-Business Punj Lloyd Chairman Atul Punj said on the occasion that his group had already invested about Rs 350 crore (USD 55 Million) in the Defence and Aerospace Business, and around Rs. 25 crore (USD 4 Million) to make components of the Tavor variants, and that as and when there are orders from the Indian Government, appropriate expansions will be made. Initially, PLR will make various components of the Tavor except the barrel, and the entire production will be exported to IWI for integration and testing, and then for its global sales, including to India.

Mr Samy Katsav, Chairman of the SK Group which is the parent company of IWI, observed on the occasion that Israel will be the first customer of the PLR venture, and also held the hope that as IWI exports 90 percent of its production, not only components but weapons fully made in India will find their way in the global market through the company’s network.

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Army to announce weapon selection within weeks

KyfPQoHp Punj LLoyd President for Manufacturing Business Ashok Wadhawan told India Strategic that the Indian Army has announced a requirement for about 160,000 assault rifles, and the PLR joint venture was a step ahead to win that order. It has to be kept in mind that the Indian armed forces and paramilitary organizations are already using Tavor variants, and accordingly, accustomed to them. “It should be the logical standard weapon.”

A decision nonetheless on the choice is likely to be announced by the Indian Ministry of Defence in the coming few weeks.

Army reverts to 7.62 mm bore for small arms

Significantly, the Indian Army has reportedly also decided to go back to the lethal power of the 7.62mm bore instead of the 5.56mm it had opted for earlier, and PLR has offered to make it in both the bores in accordance with the requirements of the Army and paramilitary forces, which also use this weapon. An India-made Tavor rifle, or other small arms made by PLR, would be able to fire both the 7.62 and 5.56 bore ammunitions with few modifications, Mr Wadhawan said.

The number of new rifles with the Army is already inadequate, and once the small arms like Tavor and its variants are made indigenously, the requirement to replace and refresh the inventory can be met rather fast, without and time-consuming tendering process.

As per the existing rules, follow on orders for any equipment do not require fresh tenders, but just repeat orders to an existing supplier.

Asked about the raw materials like steel, Mr Wadhawan said that everything would be sourced from within the country and that the quality of the steel from India had already been tested and approved by IWI. As for the barrels, they would continue to be made in Israel, but once “we have the Army orders in hand, the barrels would also be made in India.”

A rifle has three main components, bolt, carrier and barrel. Production of the first two components started with the inauguration of the facility.

Mr Wadhawan said that if the Government allows manufacture of ammunitions in the private sector, which it is likely to, then PLR will also get into that field.

Editor’s Note: Senior Correspondent Shweta Sehgal visited the facility at the invitation of Punj Lloyd.

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