Sunday 26 July 2020

Anil Bhat

If BJP’s 2014 victory was a body blow to the Congress, then its even greater victory in 2019 was like salt on wounds. Having nurtured Nehruvian socialism, leftism, pseudo-secularism and having twisted and supressed history and having been too soft on vital aspects of national security (except for Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1965 against Pakistan and Indira Gandhi in 1967 against China in Nathu La as well as in 1971aginst Pakistan) for 67 years since Independence, an inevitable result of BJP coming to power under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was a process of churning in which the much collected sediment got shaken  and began to show up.
The churning which continued with some more vigour after BJP’s second victory in 2019, resulted by the beginning of  2020 in an unprecedented attack on the State of India by, ironically, not directly by its old adversary, Pakistan, but by Indians, who resorted to the modus operandi of the Kashmiri separatists, lackeys of and supported by Pakistan’s military establishment.  This concerted attack of misinformation/lying/rumour-mongering that that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is a danger to India’s Muslims and begun as an agitation it, was timed to peak to bloody communal riots on the exact days of US President Donald Trump’s February 2020 India visit.
In 2016, an agitation in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) over raising of its hostel’s modest room charges degenerated into, or was planned to be a long rally of  anti-India and pro-Pakistan sloganeering, with some violence. West Bengal’s Jadavpur University followed suit with something similar. The outbreak of this ‘anti-India influenza’ in the JNU got publicised and the term ‘tukde-tukde gang’ (let India break into pieces/Break India) became well-known. Anti-India conclaves were the norm in JNU but they never made much news as the ‘environment’ during those almost seven decades under Congress was most conducive for the so called liberals, apologists, pseudo-secularists, pseudo-intellectuals, human rights activists etcetera who in the name of freedom of expression did everything to belittle/ridicule India, within and globally. And they prospered, as they were patronised by the ‘Lutyens gang’ of the dynasty loyalist Congress leaders. Yes, of the same Congress which allowed Kashmir to become available to Pakistan, allowed Kashmiri Pandits to be massacred and threatened out of the Valley, messed up majorly on the 1962 Sino-Indian war and welcomed as well as legalised millions of illegal  Bangladeshi migrants to the extent of altering the demography of at least eleven of Assam’s districts. It took almost seven decades since Independence for many of us Indians to realise or acknowledge that there is a large constituency in India which thrived on working against its well-being and going so far as to try to break it.
The frustration/ desperation of the Lutyens and Tukde Tukde (LTT) combo kept rising till they stooped to doubt the valiant achievements of the Army in Jammu & Kashmir. They shamelessly raised doubts about the success of Indian Army’s surgical strikes in 2016 and of the Indian Air Force’s Balakot bombing in 2019. Then came BJPs hat-trick of the striking down of triple Talaq, the legal clearance to build the Ram Jamnabhumi temple at Ayodhya and the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, all successful and amounting to a serial of very telling blows for the LTT. But it was the passing of the CAA, in which this combo saw a golden opportunity to stoop even lower to launch a campaign of outright lies, misinformation, indoctrination, which began to show some success and the agitations began again.
With the JNU back in action along with Jadavpur, Aligarh Muslim and Jamia Millia Islamia universities, a new bastion in North East Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh was created to agitate against not only the CAA, which was claimed as anti-Muslim, but even the National Register of Citizens, which has not yet been instituted. Also at this time, another bunch of anti-India players, the Popular Front of India (PFI), which since its inception, is allegedly involved in various antisocial and anti-national activities, which include connections with various Islamist terrorist groups, possessing arms, kidnapping, murder, intimidation, hate campaigns, rioting etcetera, became better known.
 The Shaheen Bagh “peaceful” agitation by largely women of that area, administratively supported 24x7 for meals and other necessary paraphernalia, featured among well-known leading LTT personalities like Mani Shankar Aiyar, new faces like Sharjeel Imam, an alleged mastermind and main coordinator of the Shaheen  Bagh agitation causing roadblocks.  The road, still blocked for three months now, affects more than 100,000 vehicles a day making their 25 - 30 minute journeys take 2 - 3 hours. As the area is also a border point into the capital, thousands of trucks are being diverted to other border points. Requests to the protesters to stop as a result of the inconvenience being caused to hundreds of thousands of commuters have so far been outrightly rejected by the agitators.

In a video which went viral on social media, Sharjeel Imam ranted that Muslims of the country should break India by cutting of the North-east from the rest of the country went viral. “Our main aim is to permanently cut Assam and North-east India from rest of India……If 5,00,000 Muslims are organised then we can cut the North-east from rest of India. If we cannot do permanently, at least we can cut North-east from India for months……… Our responsibility is to cut the Assam from India then Govt will hear our voice. If we have to help the Assam then we will have to cut the Assam from rest of India”, Imam said in the video and also made provocative and seditious remarks in his hour -long speech against the CAA, at Aligarh Muslim University, where he was invited to speak.
The “peaceful” Shaheen Bagh women’s chants also included ‘Jinnah wali azadi’, suggestive of a second partition, while some of their children chanted “Modi ko maaro” (kill Modi), or words to that effect kind of slogans. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked authorities to provide counselling for children present at the protests. A complaint was received saying that the children have been misinformed by their parents about the  CAA and detention centres.

That was not all. While more Shaheen Bagh type agitations were organised in in Kolkata, Bihar, Prayagraj, Mumbai and Bengluru, in North East Delhi, a substantial arsenal of stones cut specially with sharp edges to ensure maximum damage, truckloads of bricks, hundreds of acid and petrol bottle-bombs with bomb-hurlers fashioned out of tyre tubes were installed at various locations got detected. One such cache found in the house of the AAP’s Tahir Hussain left little doubt about the involvement of that party in this anti-BJP and anti-India campaign.
Delhi and central armed police forces deployed were ill-prepared and poorly led. Their basic action of firing at lethally armed rioters was not taken. Policemen were also lynched-the worst being Ankit Sharma who was reportedly stabbed repeatedly, his intestines disembowelled and eyes gauged -much like what Pakistan army personnel did to young Indian Army officers in 1971 Indo-Pak war, to Capt Saurabh Kalia in 1999 and many other unfortunate Indian Army brave-hearts. Shaheen Bagh and all other “agitations” elsewhere bore the signature of what Pakitstan’s Inter Services Intelligence directed Kashmiri separatists to do for decades to radicalise Kashmiris in the Valley and keep it burning.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar hit out at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi alleging her of inciting the violence in Delhi, quoting her call for a ‘fight to the finish’ made in December 2019. He also hit out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying, “AAP should have worked for peace. Instead, Chief Minister Kejriwal identified riot victims by religion in Assembly.” He however reportedly evaded the question of BJP party leader Kapil Mishra’s alleged involvement in the recent clashes.
The violent clashes in the North East Delhi took the lives of at least 37 people and injured more than 200. With over 700 rioters visually identified, many arrested and being legally proceeded against, the months long daily biryani picnics at Shaheen Bagh ended, but the agitators reduced from thousands to 15-50, have not yet relented and the road remains blocked despite Delhi Police urging them go back home and clear the road and despite the corona virus pandemic.
It can only be hoped that all the guilty are appropriately punished for the very sake of India’s integrity.
 WordSword Features

The Asian Age
Monday, Dec 16, 2019 |
Vijay Divas at India’s National War Memorial for the first time
Published : Dec 16, 2019, 6:21 am IST
Updated : Dec 16, 2019, 6:21 am IST
Independent India was destined for many wars. Independence itself was closely followed by the first India-Pakistan war of 1947-48.
A file photo of Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, commander of all Pakistani forces in the eastern theatre, signing the instrument of surrender, as Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora, GOC-in-C of India's Eastern Command and commander of the joint India-Bangladesh forces, looks on at the Ramna Race Course in Dhaka on December 16, 1971. Seated on extreme right is All India Radio's Surajit Sen, who was the first foreign correspondent to reach Dhaka.
 A file photo of Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, commander of all Pakistani forces in the eastern theatre, signing the instrument of surrender, as Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora, GOC-in-C of India's Eastern Command and commander of the joint India-Bangladesh forces, looks on at the Ramna Race Course in Dhaka on December 16, 1971. Seated on extreme right is All India Radio's Surajit Sen, who was the first foreign correspondent to reach Dhaka.
On December 16, 2019, for the first time, Vijay Divas (Victory Day) will be celebrated at the Rashtriya Samar Smaarak, India’s National War Memorial. On February 25, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Rashtriya Samar Smaarak, dedicated to every soldier martyred while fighting for India in 72 years of Independence. The third-names of 25,942 fatal battle casualties have been inscribed on 16 walls of the memorial.
The third India-Pakistan war which began on December 3, 1971, ended 13 days later, on December 15, after the Pakistani forces in erstwhile East Pakistan were completely surrounded and defeated by the Indian Army, assisted by the Mukti Vahini (literally translated as freedom force). On December 16, 1971, Lt. Gen. Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, heading 93,000 Pakistani troops, surrendered to the Indian Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora at the Ramna Race Course, now Suhrawardy Udyan, in Dhaka, and East Pakistan was declared as the newly liberated “Bangladesh”. Since then, December 16 was instituted as Vijay Divas (Victory Day) and observed across India by paying tributes to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation. In the nation’s capital, New Delhi, the Indian minister of defence and Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force pay homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti (eternal flame to the unknown soldier) at India Gate, the war memorial built by the British to honour Indian soldiers in World War I.
The famous and majestic India Gate was built by the British as a memorial to 74,187 Indian soldiers who were killed in various battles of World War I (WW I) and as many of their names as possible are etched on all the walls of this memorial. The other WW I war memorial is Teen Murti (pronounced moortee), literally meaning three statues, dedicated to the Indian Cavalry for its valiant role and incidentally, its last one as horsed cavalry — by World War II (WW II) horsed cavalry had become mechanised. While about 1.5 million Indian soldiers participated in WW I (1914-18) and in WW II (1939-45), 2.5 million Indian armed forces personnel took part and over 87,000 of them were killed. Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from 1942, asserted the British “couldn’t have come through both wars (WWs I and II) if they hadn’t had the Indian Army.” This may have meant a war memorial even larger than India Gate, but following a mutiny by some Indian Navy sailors shortly after WW II, th
e British felt compelled to leave India in a hurry. So, a memorial to the sacrifices of Indians in WW II never got built.
Independent India was destined for many wars. Independence itself was closely followed by the first India-Pakistan war of 1947-48. Then came the Sino-Indian War in 1962, the second and third India-Pakistan wars in 1965 and 1971, many insurgencies and conflicts overseas in which the Indian armed forces have participated widely as part of United Nations’ missions and since the late 1980s. The fourth India-Pakistan war, which began at Jammu and Kashmir in the late 1980s, continues till date. However, till 2014, the Indian government under the Congress Party for 56 of 67 years never made any move towards building a national war memorial. Sometime after it assumed charge in 2014, the BJP announced its plan of making a national war memorial.
Leave alone not instituting a war memorial and often stonewalling whenever the matter came up, after the surgical strikes against Pakistani terrorists in 2016, ironically, some senior Congress leaders and the Congress leaning bandwagon of leftists/pseudo-intellectuals/pseudo secularists/human rights activists politicised and even ridiculed patriotism and national pride. Some of these Congress leaders even questioned the authenticity of the surgical strikes and also criticised the Army’s actions in the Kashmir Valley.
Anyway, having announced its plan, the BJP got going. The National War Memorial and Museum was designated as a special project, and the task of its timely execution was allocated to a special projects division under the chief administrative officer, ministry of defence and the military engineer services.
A global design competition was conducted, the result of which was announced in early April 2017. A Chennai architectural firm, WeBe Design Lab’s proposal was declared the winner and was accordingly chosen for the conceptualisation of the architectural design and for coordinating the construction of the project. The chief architect of the National War Memorial, Yogesh Chandrahasan of WeBe Design Lab, who designed the project, said: “The whole concept is based on the thought that the war memorial should be a place where we don’t mourn the death, but celebrate the life of the soldiers and pay respect to the sacrifices made by them.”
The location of the memorial is befitting. It is spread over 40 acres of land behind the  “chhatri” (canopy), about 100 m behind India Gate. The memorial wall is flushed with the ground and in harmony with existing aesthetics. The names of armed forces personnel martyred during the armed conflicts of 1947–48, 1961 (Goa), 1962 (China), 1965, 1971, 1987 (Siachen), 1987-88 (Sri Lanka), 1999 (Kargil), and other operations such as Operation Rakshak, are inscribed on the memorial walls.
The memorial has four concentric circles designed as a Chakravyuh, an ancient Indian war formation and a central obelisk, at the bottom of which burns an “eternal flame” representing the Amar Jawan (immortal soldier). The concentric circles are called Amar Chakra (circle of immortality), Veerta Chakra (circle of bravery), Tyag Chakra (circle of sacrifice) and Rakshak Chakra (circle of protection).
The Param Yodha Sthal, where the busts of 21 recipients of the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest gallantry award during war, have been placed, is located in a large section of what was the quadrant between Kasturba Gandhi Marg and the main entrance of Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.
The memorial is open to the public free of cost, from 9 am to 6.30 pm (November to March) and from 9 am to 7.30 pm (April to October). For the first time since Independence, the Indian public and foreign tourists are able to get a glimpse of India’s history of wars and war heroes. The daily footfall on weekdays is 4,000 to 6,000 and on weekends and holidays it goes up to 10,000 or more.
Since its inauguration, every evening, five minutes before sounding the Retreat, a next of kin of kin of a battle casualty lays a wreath at the memorial as a tribute, witnessed by hundreds of spectators.
There is a National War Memorial App for more detailed information on the memorial and there is a souvenir shop in the memorial complex called Smarika, where memorabilia and war heroes’ stories in illustrated comics are available.
A National War Museum will also be constructed in the adjoining Princess Park area north of India Gate, measuring 14 acres. The proposed National War Museum and the National War Memorial will be connected by an underground route.
The writer, a retired Army officer, is a defence and security analyst based in New Delhi

Sino-Indian posturing on tables, terrain and high-seas

Anil Bhat

Tension was reported to have flared up between India and China on 11 September 2019 after troops from the two countries engaged in a scuffle in eastern Ladakh. Quite typically, the face-off began when Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers objecting to Indian Army troops patrolling the Pangong Tso (tso means lake) in Ladakh. According to the report, the objections by the Chinese side led to the scuffle which resulted in both sides calling in reinforcements. Two-thirds of Pangong Tso, 134- kms long and 5 kms at its widest width, is controlled by China and the remaining by India.

On 13 July 2019, Chinese personnel in civil dress protested along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, then part of  Jammu and Kashmir, after some Tibetans hoisted Tibetan flags to celebrate Dalai Lama’s 84th birthday.
Decades long frequent confrontations on the 4057 kms long LAC between India and China- disputed and perception-based, except for a small undisputed stretch in the middle- had greatly reduced since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President XI Jinping met for a summit at Wuhan in April 2018, about six months after the 73-day long standoff between the Indian Army and PLA on Bhutan’s Doklam plateau in 2017.

Clarifying that the 13 July incident was not an incursion, Amy Chief Gen Bipin Rawat said, “There are perceptions of the LAC. They have their own perception and we have our own. We patrol up to the borders as per our perception…We have a very good working relationship with the PLA,"

After 05 August this year, when India revoked Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories -- Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, China had conveyed its objection. The trip of Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, to India for special representative talks on border issues was reportedly postponed due to scheduling issues. The reason reported in media is that New Delhi is not happy about Mr. Wang Yi coming to India after talks in Pakistan and the hyphenation as such.

 The report of tensions related to the Pangong Tso confrontation, which got resolved, came ahead of an expected but yet unconfirmed visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to India in October 2019 for an informal summit.

The very next day after the Pangong Tso confrontation, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation’s (SCO) first conference on Military Medicine for member states was held in New Delhi on 12 – 13  September 2019. The conference was also the first military co-operation event hosted by India, under the SCO Defence Co-operation Plan 2019-2020, after it became a SCO Member State in 2017. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the conference which was conducted by the Indian Armed Forces under the aegis of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS), with the aim sharing best practices in the field of military medicine, build capacities and overcome common challenges. During the conference, there were deliberations between military medicine experts of SCO member countries on rendering combat medical support, humanitarian assistance during disasters and measures to improve patient safety. The SCO Member States were represented by senior military medical practitioners. Dialogue partners Nepal and Sri Lanka also sent their delegations to participate in the Conference. Indian Armed Forces demonstrated the Rapid Action Medical Team and organised a visit for the delegates to the Army Research and Referral Hospital.

The only member state which did not send its representative was Pakistan, which became a member at the same time that India did.

On 16 September 2019, news reports began coming stating that Indian Navy’s P-8I Poseidon surveillance aircraft recently detected Chinese amphibious warship Xian-32 in the southern Indian Ocean region (IOR) earlier in September. Photographs of Landing Paltrorm Dock Xian 32 were clicked by the P-8I surveillance aircraft before it entered Sri Lankan waters. Indian Navy was quoted saying, “The P-8I tracked another Chinese frigate that is part of its anti-piracy escort task force deployed in Gulf of Aden to provide security to Chinese merchant vessels from Somali sea pirates.”
In late August/early September 2019, Indian intelligence agencies reportedly warned that China was allegedly spying on Indian Naval bases in the Indian Ocean through its advanced surveillance ship in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. One of these reports stated that China had regularly been sending its surveillance ships in the IOR to gather more details about the Indian naval bases and the warships deployed in the area by one of China’s latest intelligence-gathering ships - Dongdiao class ship Tianwangxing. The Chinese spy ship reportedly entered India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and stayed there for a few days and was spotted very close to the eastern sea border near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Also People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ship Tianwangxing intruded into the EEZ and remained close to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the east coast of India for nearly two weeks. Tianwangxing of Type 815G Class is China’s most modern of electronic surveillance ships. As per news reports of 16 September 2019, at least seven Chinese ships have been detected in the IOR.  The presence of Chinese surveillance vessels in the IOR is a cause of concern for the Indian security establishments.
In October 2019, Indian Army’s newly raised mountain strike corps will hold its maiden exercise, ‘HimVijay’, at over 10,000 feet in Arunachal Pradesh, in which over 15,000 soldiers backed by tanks, medium artillery, helicopters and transport aircraft will participate. Planned to be conducted away from the LAC with China, it will coincide with the expected visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping also in October.
The exercise assumes greater significance because Indian Army will for the first time see in action its integrated battle groups (IBGs), the idea of which is reported to have been conceived by Gen Bipin Rawat. The news report cited sources stating that three mountain IBGs have been formed from a Mountain Division, which is part of the newly raised Mountain Strike Corps.
An IBG, which will be a little smaller than a division, will integrate the existing elements of infantry, tank regiments, artillery, engineers and signals. It will comprise six battalions of these elements and will be directly under a Corps. Once the IBGs are formed, the formations will be converted into leaner and more efficient fighting units with the ability to strike deeper and faster against enemy targets, the sources said.
The aircraft this exercise will include Chinook helicopters inducted into the Indian Air Force earlier this year, its latest transport aircraft, the C-17 and C-130J Super Hercules as well as the old AN-32 to airlift the army troops from West Bengal and deploy them close to the ‘war zone’ in Arunachal Pradesh. The Army’s M777 ultra-light howitzers, inducted about a year ago and ideal for use in mountainous terrain will also feature in the exercise.
The exercise is expected to be widely watched keenly, as the IBGs are reported to replicated in future operations in the theatres of the Western, Northern and Eastern Commands.
Mr. Sun Weidong, the new Chinese envoy to India, reportedly admitted during a public address in New Delhi that for neighbours and major countries, differences are hard to avoid. “The key is to properly handle them. We should look at issues with rationality, put them in the bigger picture, reduce differences through consultation, settle disputes through dialogue, promote peace through development, and enhance mutual trust through cooperation. Only by this way can we lead the trend of our times and meet people’s expectations”, he suggested.

Sharing his views with this writer, Dr. Swaran Singh, Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, commented that much of the Sino-Indian relationship is about posturing, but keeping the ties going relatively smoothly. If posturing is how some diplomatic-military relationships are to be managed, then the one consolation is that the Indian establishments spine is becoming straighter.

WordSword Features


Jitters for separatists and their supporters in Kashmir Valley

Lt Col Anil Bhat, VSM (Retd)

 “Jo haath 35A ke saath ched chaad karne ke liye uthenge, wo haath hi nahi wo saara jism jal ke raakh ho jaega (not only will the hand, which will raise to tamper with 35A, burn, but the whole body will burn to ashes)……… We have to fight this. No other political party can stand up against this. I read Omar’s (Abdullah) statement on Article 35A in which he told New Delhi not to touch it and leave it for the Supreme Court. I am asking you is there anyone from J&K who is ready for any tinkering with Article 35A either by the Central government or by the Supreme Court?..... In this fight for which we are preparing, they can even send Mehbooba behind bars. But, do not get worried. Anything can happen, but I assure the people that the PDP will fight till the last for safeguarding the special status of J&K,” ranted former Chief Minister J&K and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, while speaking during the foundation day of the PDP. She said touching Article 35A would be akin to setting a powder keg on fire and warned New Delhi of a “bloodbath if it fiddled with the special status of the state”.

Mr. Omar Abdullah, while referring to the matter of abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A as sub-judice and singing praises of  slain terrorist leaders Burhan Wani and Zakir Musa, recently commented: “Today we are hearing that the state will be trifurcated. However let me make it very clear that any misadventure in this direction will set the state on fire. Any anticipated trifurcation of the state won’t limit itself to regions. Any whimsical attempt to trifurcate the state will eventually divide the state on religious lines. In those circumstances the state will be divided on Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist lines,” he said adding, “What is it that the New Delhi wants to suggest by proposing such far-fetched ideas…….Do they mean that the Slogan of Sher-e- Kashmir (his grandfather Sheikh Abdulla) on Hindu-Muslim unity was erroneous? If yes let them come forward and make it public. As far as our party (National Conference) is concerned we reject any idea of diving the state on religious and regional lines, our vision of Jammu and Kashmir is shorn of communal, regional overtones. We stand for a united state, with equitable justice for all the sections of society living across the state. We will safe guard the prized diversity of our state come what may.”

While Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s first visit to J&K after his assuming the appointment raised speculations that the BJP government is planning to revoke Article 35A after August 15, the Centre rushing 100 companies of central armed police forces to the state only added weight to the rumours causing jitters to many out of power leaders quite accustomed to being very comfortable with India -bashing, Army-bashing, supporting Pakistan/ pro-Pakistan activities, being hard core or soft core separatists/traitors etc while enjoying all the benefits of the Indian system. For almost seventy years since Independence the Abdullahs, Muftis/other chief ministers of J&K did nothing to prevent the spread of anti-India sentiment and activities. Pakistani and even ISIS flags, pro-Pakistani/anti India slogans were tolerated or ignored. Thanks to the Indian Army’s vigil on the Line of Control and terrorism was reduced to the extent that tourism began to flourish once again, it became too much for Pakistan’s directors of anti-India operations. New tactics like paid stone-pelting were developed to raise them to the level of hectoring the Army and SFs during their operations. PDP went even further by filing FIRs against Army/security forces personnel for doing their duty while being stoned and even petrol-bombed. Over 40 schools were destroyed. Even Kashmiri Army personnel like Lt Umar Fayaz and Rifleman Aurangzed, many Kashmiri J&K police personnel and Editor of Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, were all brutally killed that too during wedding celebrations and the Ramzan ceasefire.
In the larger interest of all communities of J&K and India’s security, there should be no doubt about the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A and earliest.

DRDO develops critical equipment for fighting COVID-19

Anil Bhat

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has been tracking the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) since the world media started reporting its devastating impact in China’s Wuhan Province, took a call in first week of March 2020 to enhance efforts to create counter measures to stop the spread of the disease in India, where by then, 30 persons had been affected. DRDO started focusing on creating mass supply solutions of critical medical requirements and by end of March it became ready with four different items – hand sanitizers, ventilators, facial masks and body suits.

A hand sanitizer developed in-house at DRDO was by 3rd week of March, produced in sizable quantities and distributed to major offices and establishments within the capital. Approximately 4,000 litres of hand sanitizer has been provided to Indian Armed forces, incuding Armed Forces Medical Services and Defence Security Corps, 1,500 litres to Ministry of Defence, 300 litres to Parliament, and 500 litres to various security establishments and high offices.

The DRDO is ready to provide more hand sanitizers in large quantities to the concerned. Initially a DRDO lab, Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior produced approximately 20,000 litres to cater to initial requirements of its employees and government offices/ministries. In the meantime, DRDO identified a vendor with the WHO formulation, M/s Gwalior Alco Brew Pvt Ltd, Gwalior. DRDE Gwalior is providing technical support and its scientists are positioned with the company the check the quality. The capacity is 20,000 to 30,000 litres per day, packed in 200-500 ml bottles and costing less than Rs 120/- per litre (including GST).

Since COVID-19 affects pulmonary functions, keeping in mind the near future requirement, Society for Biomedical Technology (SBMT) programme of DRDO has been modified to cater to the current situation. Defence Bio-Engineering & Electro Medical Laboratory (DEBEL), Bangalore (a DRDO lab) has identified a vendor, M/s Scanray Tech Pvt Ltd, Mysore) to produce critical care ventilators. It has been created by using existing technologies like breath regulators, pressure/flow sensors, etc. Presently, innovation is on to create a ‘Multi patient ventilator’ wherein several patients can be supported by a single ventilator. This innovation is expected to be available by second week of April 2020. Around 5,000 ventilators will be produces in the first month and 10,000 subsequently. DRDO has identified local alternatives to supply critical components. Already, Secretary (Pharmaceuticals) has identified nine companies for design transfer to produce and Mr Anand Mahindra for fabrication of components. Each ventilator unit will cost around Rs 4,00,000/-.

Five layer N99 masks with two layers of nano mesh, considered very advanced and one of the critical items to stop the spread of Corona are going to be produced M/s Venus Industries Mumbai, M/s IMTEC Kolkata. With material for these masks is sourced from Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association, which already has plenty of government orders for N95 masks, 10,000 N99 masks per day will cost Rs 70/- per piece.

Delhi Police (DP) has been provided 20,000 three ply masks and 1,000 litres of hand sanitizers by DRDO, which in addition, also distributed hand sanitizers to DP’s 40 nakas (check-points) all around Delhi.

Body suits, a critical requirement for doctors, medical staff, sanitations workers, for protection against COVID-19 had already earlier been developed by DRDO for medical and paramedical staff to manage and evacuate causalities in the event of radiological emergencies, has been  converted as a full body suit to stop contamination.  Widely tested by DRDO and other agencies and found suitable, This washable suit has passed the ASTM International standards. M/s Frontier Protective Wear Pvt Ltd Kolkata, with transfer of technology available, is already working with Ministry of Textiles, and M/s Medikit Pvt Ltd Mumbai are aiming to produce 10,000 suits per day, costing Rs 7,000/- per suit.

Bio suit production in the country by DRDO, industry partners and other industries have been hampered due to non-availability of seam sealing tapes. DRDO has prepared a special sealant as an alternative to seam sealing tape based on the sealant used in submarine applications. Presently, bio suits prepared  by an industry partner, using this glue for seam sealing cleared the test at Southern India Textile Research Association (SITRA) Coimbatore. This can be a game changer for the textile industry. DRDO can mass produce this glue through industry to support the seam sealing activity by suit manufacturers.

DRDO has developed a number of products and technologies for defence against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) agents. Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE) Gwalior, a laboratory of DRDO, has developed Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Permeable Suit Mk V. 53,000 of these suits have been supplied to Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

For first responders attending to radiological emergencies, a reusable suit has been developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS) Delhi. Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) Agra has developed various types of parachutes with fabrics similar to protective technical textiles.

The author, a strategic analyst and former spokesperson Defence Ministry and Indian Army can be contacted at