HEADLINES:
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 । Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is free from jail after six year । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who holds additional charge of Defence, elected President of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) । He succeeds Mr Manohar Parikkar who resigned to take over as Chief Minister of Goa recently। Hardeep Singh Puri appointed Chairman of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries । Mr Puri is former Indian Envoy to the UN in New York and Geneva । FBI investigating possible Russian interference in 2016 US presidential election, Director Comey confirms । He told House Intelligence Committee there is no evidence of President Obama ordering wiretap of Trump during the election campaign । President Trump has made several allegations against his predecessor, which the powerful heads of FBI and NSA have denied । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assumes additional charge as Defence Minster । Jaitley replaces Manohar Parrikar who has moved to Goa to head the State’s Government as Chief Minster । BRAHMOS Extended Range (ER) missile successfully test-fired । Prime Minister greets CISF on its 48th Raising Day । INS Tillanchang Commissioned into Indian Navy । INS Tillanchang was commissioned by FOC-in-C Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra at Karwar । India Strategic salutes the humanity on this International Women’s Day । Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju dedicates first integrated heliport to the nation । Ms. DR Doley Barman appointed Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad । 1992 batch IFS officer Gopal Baglay appointed MEA Spokesperson । He replaces Vikas Swarup, who has been appointed Indian High Commissioner to Canada । Raytheon, Tata Advanced Systems to Co-produce Stinger Missile Components । Indian Navy Concludes First Contract under Buy and Make (Indian) Category । Contract signed between Nova Integrated Systems Ltd (NISL), a TASL subsidiary, and Indian Navy for procurement of Surface Surveillance Radars (SSRs) ।
May 22, 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.

IWI_X95

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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