India beefs up its strategic aircraft capability

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After much hullabaloo over last month’s pictures of China’s Y-20 strategic transport aircraft, Boeing announced the delivery of India’s first C-17A Globemaster III aircraft for flight testing at Edwards AFB in Palmdale, California.

The January 23rd press release indicates Boeing is on track to deliver an additional four C-17A before year’s end. The remaining five will have a 2014 delivery date, completing the $5.8 billion contract signed in June 2011.

The contract—which follows the arrival of the sixth and last C-130J Hercules from Lockheed Martin in December 2011–will see India become the second largest operator of the C-17 heavy lift aircraft only after the United States.

As such, many defense analysts continue to point to these contracts, inter alia, as key drivers for deepened US-Indo relations despite inherently complicated US export controls, and what are often viewed by Indian defense observers as diluted offset agreements for technology transfer.

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The Coming Indo-Japan Security Alliance

There’s been much speculation around PM Singh’s visit to Japan between 15-18NOV12. The Times of India on 05NOV12 mirrored a piece from the Asahi Shimbun speaking of a closer security alliance between the two indicating that Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy will hold joint exercises in the Indian Ocean as well as around Japan. (India and Japan only recently  conducted their first bilateral naval exercise in June 2012.) This outcome will reportedly be part of a new bilateral forum on security matters to be announced during the visit.

According to the AS piece, the aim as we’ve often heard before is to counter China’s rising military capabilities in the region. Although that may be so, this move wasn’t hard to foresee as the US recently concluded the trilateral forum between India and Japan during a time when the issues over the Senkakus have been brought into the spotlight.

Like many have speculated, the US may be helping push Japan and India closer together in the hopes India and the US will develop a better relationship despite (what India may see as) diverging national interests.

PLA Lieutenant-General Ren Haiquin Speech at Aussie Army Conference

James Brown on the Lowy Institute’s blog posted visiting PLA Lieutenant-General Ren Haiquin’s speech to the Australian Chief of Army’s annual conference at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. Lieutenant General Ren warned against Cold War notions of Containment having this to say:

Due to historical as well as realistic reasons, current security situation in Asia is not very satisfying and there are still factors destabilizing and uncertain…Asia is now in a transition towards a new type of security order, and external countries involvement complicate the process. Some countries pursue strategies such as “rebalance the Asia-Pacific” and “Looking East” and are increasing their strategic investment.

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Raytheon seeks more Indian opportunities

Jane’s reports on 01NOV12 that Raytheon is now looking to supply air traffic management systems for the growing secondary airport sector. Having built 15 ground stations for India’s GPS-aided Geosynchronous Augmented Navigation System (GAGAN) and provided AutoTrac III (AT3) at military air bases and large civilian airports, Raytheon may be well positioned to obtain more of Indian airport business. According to Jane’s projections, air traffic in India is forecast to grow at an average of at least 10 per cent up to 2020, with domestic traffic expected to rise to 150 million.

Russia Will Abandon CTR

India’s all weather ally, Russia, has recently announced its intent to withdraw from the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program with the United States. During the course of this 21 year program, more than 7,600 warheads, 902 ICBMs and 684 submarine-launched ballistic missiles had been eliminated from Russia’s stores. With the reduction of spending from CTR in Russia, other states like India and Pakistan may now become the focus of securitization and arms reduction. (Since 2004, Congress passed legislation supporting the expansion of the CTR Program to extend to states beyond the former Soviet Union).

Although this is one possibility, the Russians have yet to completely rule out the negotiation of a new amended treaty to reflect the changes in US-Russian relations.

India in Africa: Implications of an Emerging Power for AFRICOM

This monograph examines India’s rapidly expanding network of influence in Africa. The author analyzes the country’s burgeoning public and private investments in the region as well as its policies vis-à-vis African regional organizations and individual states, especially in the security sector. After reviewing the historic role that India has played in Africa, the author looks at the principal motivations for India’s approach to Africa—including the former’s quests for the resources, business opportunities, diplomatic influence, and security—and Africans’ responses to it. In the context of the broader U.S.-India strategic partnership, as well as American political and security interests in Africa, India’s willingness to make significant contributions to African peacekeeping and to extend its maritime security cover to the continent’s eastern littoral ought to be welcomed, not least because of the potential positive impact on regional stability and development. Consequently, the author believes the opportunity thus presented in Africa for greater engagement between the United States and India ought to be seized upon.

The Free PDF version is available here.

New Equipment For Philippine Navy Ships

BRP Gregorio Del Pila (PF-15)

According to a report on 08SEP12 in the Manila Bulletin, a top defense official said the Hamilton-class cutters of the Philippine Navy (PN) will get sophisticated radars and an anti-ship missile system to make the vessels more capable of engaging intruders to Philippine territorial waters.

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