British Prime Minister David Cameron resigns | Theresa May takes over as new UK PM | May becomes second British woman PM after Margaret Thatcher | Cameron announced resignation following Brexit, a referendum for UK's exit from EU June 23 | International Tribunal demolishes China's claims over South China Sea | Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague says China has no legal basis to claim regional waters and build islets | The Tribunal also held China guilty of damaging coral reefs and natural environment | China has border maritime problems with all its neighbours | China rejected the decision, saying it is invalid and has no binding force | India, Tanzania agree to deepen overall defence and security partnership, especially in the maritime domain | Both nations agreed to work closely, bilaterally, regionally and globally to combat twin threats of terrorism, climate change | Prime Minister visiting Tanzania in the last leg of his visit to 4 African nations July 7-11 | Boeing, Mahindra Defence open C-17 Training Centre for IAF | Terrorism is the gravest security threat facing the world today, says PM Modi during Mozambique visit | Terrorism impacts India and Mozambique equally | NASA spacecraft Juno reaches Jupiter | Juno crossed violent radiation and flew 130,000 miles/hour | Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system | Juno should be in Jpiter orbit for 20 months to send data | The $1.1 billion Juno mission took five years to reach Jupiter | LCA 'Tejas' joins Indian Air Force | Tejas is an indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft | The single-seat, single-engine, multi-role light fighter is designed by ADA and manufactured by HAL | India test-fires new surface-to-air missile from a defence base in Balasore off Odisha coast | The new missile is jointly developed by India and Israel | Abdul Majeed Al Khoori appointed Acting CEO of the Abu Dhabi Airports | Eng. Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei becomes Advisor to the Abu Dhabi Airports Chairman | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar hands over 'Varunastra' to Indian Navy | Varunastra is an advanced heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo | It is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by DRDO | India officially joins Missile Technology Control Regime | With this India becomes 35th member of the MTCR | Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar signed the document of accession into MTCR in Seoul June 27 | The document was signed in presence of Ambassadors of France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg - the Chair and two co-chairs of the Regime | India had applied for the membership in 2015 | India finalises deal for 145 BAE Systems M777 artillery guns | This is Indian Army's first artillery deal in 30 years | Britain votes to leave EU, Pound crashes | 52 per cent voted Leave and 48 Remain in historic referendum | British Prime Minister David Cameron announces to resign before October over UK's exit | Leave process will take about two years though | Markets hit worldwide, including in India | China scuttles India's NSG bid | India joins SCO | India, apart from Pakistan, was admitted as full member of SCO during its Ufa Summit in July 2015 | After completing certain procedures, India now technically entered into SCO | India had an observer status for past 10 years prior to entering into six member regional bloc | No consensus on India's membership in NSG | China and five other countries oppose India's entry as New Delhi has not signed NPT | China insists Pakistan must also enter NSG if India's application is accepted | Pakistan is China's only military ally and is also known as a nuclear, missile and terror proliferator (NMTP) | Indian Space Agency ISRO successfully launches 20 satellites in one rocket | This is the biggest launch in ISRO's history | The satellites were launched onboard PSLV C-34 from SDSC (SHAR) Sriharikota | PSLV C-34 was carrying 17 satellites from US, Canada, Germany, Indonesia and 3 from India | Government of India approves 100% FDI in defence and civil aviation sectors | In defence, foreign investment beyond 49% (and up to 100%) permitted through the government approval route | This is in cases of access to modern technology in the country | For aviation, the government allowed 100% FDI in India-based airlines | The decision on FDI reforms taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi | India confident of getting into NSG, says External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj | India is working with China to win support | India will not oppose any country's membership proposal, EAM told a news conference |

Aerospace Power in 21st century
Sharp end of a sharp edge


  Published : March 2014

The Fifth “Jumbo” Majumdar International conference on “Conflict and Aerospace Power in 21st century”, was organised by Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), on February 4-5, in New Delhi, commemorating one of the great pioneers of the Indian Air Force (IAF), late Wing Commander KK “Jumbo” Majumdar.


In his inaugural address, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Arup Raha, highlighted the importance of this year’s topic by stating that “Aerospace Power in 21st century will establish itself as the sharp end of a sharp edge in combat power”. Aerospace power with its ability to simultaneously interface and influence the land and sea operations was best suited for providing prompt multiple response options to political leadership in times of national security crises. While deliberating his views on future propositions and challenges he brought about the blurring of boundaries between peace, war, armed conflict and terrorism and conveyed that the transition between these boundaries is thinning. In 21st century, geopolitical environment will continue to evolve and change despite the unipolar world order with emergence of new power centres, thereby necessitating realignments of power structures. Speaking on Information warfare, he emphasised on the development of space and cyber warfare capabilities and elaborated on the need to address information domain as a key force multiplier. He highlighted the importance of aerospace power in control of the air, improving situational awareness, ISR requirements and precision strike capabilities.

The conduct of the seminar included sessions on topics like ‘Understanding Strategic Cultures’, ‘Trends in Aerospace Power’, ‘Security of Outer Space: Opportunities and Challenges’, ‘Military Balance in Asia’ and, ‘Trends in Defence Modernisation’.

The first session on ‘Understanding Strategic Cultures’ was chaired by Air Marshal (Retd) Vinod Patney Director General, CAPS, who stated that the study of strategic culture is more of an art and has not yet been dealt with utmost sincerity. The session was aimed to interpret as to how one country would respond and act under different circumstances. The speakers Dr Shalini Chawla, MV Rappai and Prof Arun Mohanty shared their views on strategic culture of Pakistan, China and Russia, respectively. They brought out as how the varieties of factors like historical experiences, geographical location, threat perception and religion played an important role in shaping and influencing the growth and approach of a nation.

Subsequent session on ’Trends in Aerospace Power’ included topics of ‘Air Power as Instrument of Coercion’ by AVM (Retd) Manmohan Bahadur, ‘Trends in Aero Space Power - Technology and Affordability’ by Gp Capt (Retd) Sudhir Verma and ‘Directed Energy Weapons and Air Power’ by Prof Premchand. The session listed out the challenges in face of intermeshing of the air, space and cyber domains. It focused on the new synergistic capabilities of a modern, technology driven Air Force, covering the need for a framework and road map for procurement of future generation aircrafts and development of DEWs Capability.

On second day of the conference, the session on ’Security of Outer Space: Opportunities and Challenges’ was chaired by Air Marshal (Retd) LK Malhotra, Distinguished Fellow CAPS. Stressing the need to improve on transparency in outer space and development of space policies, he presented his views on increasing exploitation of space, problem of space debris, satellite collisions and the necessity of a viable Code of Conduct. Wg Cdr Ajay Lele, Wg Cdr KK Nair and Dr Manpreet Sethi presented their views on the central theme of ‘Outer Space’ bringing about historical perspectives, space achievements, space militarisation, space weapons and issues of space security. They brought out as to how space assets contribute to strategic and economic benefits. Issue of vulnerability of space assets was highlighted in the shadow of development and testing of ASAT weapons. The session presented a detailed insight on existing Space laws, treaties and Code of Conduct and how the use of space for peaceful purposes was challenged by legal ambiguity.

The session on ’Military Balance in Asia’ was chaired by Air Marshal (Retd) TM Asthana, who stated that twenty-first century belongs to Asia. He, however, mentioned that security environment in Asia is, by and large, influenced by historical disputes, nuclearisation, energy resources and the growing potential of China. He opined that war on terror, disarmament, social upheavals in many of the Asian countries, and, impact of unilateralism of the US on Asian countries are the factors shaping economic contours in Asia and thereby, affecting globalisation. Prof GVC Naidu, Prof Srikanth Kondapalli and Gp Capt (Retd) Ravinder Singh Chhatwal, presented their views on the topic of ’India-Southeast Asia: Military Interactions’, ’Chinese Response to America’s Rebalancing’ and ’Military Implications of China’s Rise’, respectively.

The last session on ’Trends in Defence Modernisation’ was chaired by Air Marshal (Retd) NV Tyagi. He stated that modernisation is driven by doctrine, threat perception and in some cases by military aspirations and is limited by availability of resources. Amit Cowshish gave his views on ’India’s Future Defence Budgets’ bringing about the requirements, projections, limitations, allocations and utilisation under the heads of revenue and capital budgets. Mohan Guruswamy, shared his views on ’China’s Economic Trajectory and Defence Modernisation’. Air Vice Marshal SB Deo, DG Air Operations presented his views on ’IAF in 2032’ and gave a brief insight of its planning and preparedness for that period.

In his valedictory speech, Air Marshall RK Sharma, Vice Chief of Air Staff said that the mix of topics in the seminar was keeping in the mind the objective of enabling and empowering the war fighter with knowledge. He pointed out that developing a strategic culture for India based on the study of the same of other countries will benefit the nation in the long run. He also highlighted how air power was important and critical to national power. He pointed out that future wars would be short and sharp with greater unpredictability which will require assured, swift and flexible response. The need for keeping the Indian Air Force (IAF) tactically and technologically superior is essential to win any air wars. Raising concerns over development of ASAT capabilities by few countries, he stressed the need to defend the space based capabilities and allocation of higher resources towards research and development in aerospace sector.

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