er-based fighters. The Indian Navy can incorporate this aboard the second aircraft carrier it plans on building after the INS Vikrant presently
being constructed by Cochin Shipyard Limited and scheduled for commissioning by 2018.
Other US technologies on offer include those to design and build
unmanned aerial vehicles, ground emplacement mine-scattering systems, Big Data cyber systems, warship guns and assorted military
The two sides agreed to remove bureaucratic hurdles that had prevented activating the DTTI agreed to in 2012, by appointing one official
from either side to monitor it: Frank Kendall, the under secretary for
acquisition, technology and licensing, and India’s yet-to-be-appointed
secretary of defense production.
India, meanwhile, is evaluating the US proposals which are expected
to receive a further impetus during Modi’s meeting with President
Barack Obama. But officials said that in keeping with the government’s
mantra of greater self-reliance in military equipment and reducing
import dependence, Defense Minister Jaitley confirmed India’s requirement for US military know-how in order to boost indigenous capability
to design and build weapon systems.
‘The development of our own indigenous capabilities (in defense) is a
major objective that guides our present policies’ Jaitley said. ‘In this
direction we have taken steps to raise the foreign direct investment cap
in the defense sector — from 26 to 49 percent — and we look forward to
working closely with the US in this regard,’ he added.
Conversely, however, interaction between the two militaries that
includes bilateral exercises and reciprocal visits by senior military com-
manders to further strategic ties is faltering badly. Senior service officers
blamed India’s ‘regressive’ and ‘hidebound’ Ministry of External Affairs
that was strongly opposed to increased contact between the two mili-
taries, for this ‘debilitating shortcoming.’
“The MEA strongly opposes most initiatives for cooperation between
defense personnel from both sides,” a two-star Indian Army general said,
declining to be identified. “It seems to go out of its way to place obsta-
cles between them, even though India and the US have been strategic
partners for almost a decade,” he added.
Consequently, only one of three proposed exercises involving the
respective armies — this month’s Yudh Abhyas series — was approved in
late August in Delhi at the meeting of the Executive Steering Group, an
annual collaborative effort between the two forces.
The Vajra Prahar round of counter-terrorism maneuvers between the
Special Forces, postponed by the MEA in 2013 and later canceled at its
behest in 2014, was not scheduled for 2015. Also deferred were the third
category of Shatrujeet army exercises, official sources said.
The US proposed three Subject Matter Exchanges, SMEEs, in the
ESG, but only two were cleared conditionally, subject to re-appraisal.
These included logistics and the combat engineer SMEE respectively
with the one on Contingency Protection shelved.
Of the five Functional Exchanges, FES, mooted between the two
armies, only one was agreed upon. This involved Indian Army personnel
visiting the Center for Army Analysis at Fort Belvoir in Virginia to study
how the American military collaborates with its many branches to function as a cohesive and comprehensive fighting force.
Return visits by the US Army to Indian military academies, including
training institutions like the High Altitude Warfare School at Gulmarg
and the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Virangte in
And lastly, high level visits by senior officers recommended by then
army Chief General Bikram Singh during his US visit late last year too
were rejected by India at the ESG.
“India’s military and security establishment is sending mixed and con-
fused signals to the US, indicating that it does not know its own mind,”
On the one hand it exhibits enthusiasm to collaborate with
Washington under the DTII, but on the other it is loath to foster and
nurture ties between the two military establishments. Delhi must
emerge from under the Cold War shadow if it aims on strengthening
strategic ties with the US in anticipation of turbulent times, he added.
An Indian Navy Chetak helicopter demonstrates a rescue operation in the Arabian Sea near Porbander, Gujarat, December 7, 2006. After jugaad — innovative fixes — Cheetah helicopters are capable of operating almost daily for decades at heights of over 14,000 feet in Ladakh and the Siachen glacier region. Alas, no jugaad 3Page A18
Increased US military purchases, points out Rahul Bedi, impinge adversely on the military’s innovative fix route
The steady flow of varied US materiel into India and the anticipated ingress of more following has, according to several military officers, one basic flaw: It impinges
adversely on the military’s accomplished, long
established, and at times essential jugaad or
innovative fix route with regard to its platforms.
US pacts like the End Use Monitoring
Agreement — EUMA, the only one of three crucial accords regarding American defense
exports to which New Delhi has so far agreed —
forecloses the possibility of any jugaad.
The other two include the Communications
Interoperability and Security Memorandum of
Agreement and the Basic Exchange and
Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial
Cooperation. Both are protocols to ensure client
compliance with transfer of sensitive US military technology.
Over decades, jugaad has not only provided
India’s military flexibility, but ably rendered
imported equipment wholly serviceable in climatic extremes and assorted terrain and for
diverse operational requirements.
The fine print of the EUMA, however, proscribes India-from retrofitting and adapting
military equipment to its needs without the
Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEMs,
consent and participation for the entire duration of its service.
With the 80-odd countries with who
Washington has concluded the EUMA, it has
reportedly made an exception only once by
allowing the Israel air force to incorporate
locally developed sensors and weapons onto
Lockheed Martin F16s supplied to Tel Aviv.
Significantly, all US military purchases by
India, primarily under the FMS program have
been concluded under the stricter ‘Golden
Sentry’ EUMA which mandates not only physical verification of the equipment-over which
Delhi and Washington have managed to reach a
workable via medium-and its final disposal.
This protocol is far stricter than the less stringent ‘Blue Lantern’ EUMA governing the direct
commercial sale of US materiel worldwide, but
this too forbids all and any jugaad on the
Indian military officers concede that such
foreclosure on US defense goods ‘encroaches’ on
decades of amazing and efficient implementa-
tion of jugaad, elevated to sophisticated levels
which have ensured that imported weapon sys-
tems perform well above their declared opera-
For decades, jugaad has rendered a range of
platforms not only highly serviceable and effec-
tive, but in some instances even lethal. These
include the fleet of Chetak and Cheetah heli-
copters, capable after jugaad of operating
almost daily for decades at heights of over
14,000 feet in Ladakh and the Siachen glacier
region. Their original French manufacturers
could never ever have imagined this possible
and have openly and repeatedly expressed
admiration for India’s jugaad proficiency.
Alongside, some 125 Soviet MiG-21 ‘bis’
ground attack fighters have been effectively
upgraded with Russian collaboration by equip-
ping them with French, Israeli and locally
developed weapons, sensors and electronic
warfare systems. And the fleet of British
ground attack Jaguars too have been retrofitted
successfully, provided with mid-air refueling
capability amongst other lethal competence
supplied by vendors other than the OEM, all
driven by jugaad.
Even the frontline Russian Su-30MkI multirole fighters, the muscle of the IAF’s combat
squadrons, have local and other-than-Russian
competent force multipliers fitted on board.
And during the 1999 Kargil conflict the IAF
ably equipped its Mirage 2000Hs with indigenously developed precision-guided munitions,
delivering them with devastating effect on the
Pakistani army in its mountain dugouts.
Similarly, the Indian Army’s Soviet and
Russian T72 and T90S main battle tanks,
artillery guns and infantry combat vehicles in
addition to numerous naval assets have all been
cleverly and effectively adapted through jugaad
with their efficiency, operability and life span
But, regretfully with regard to US platforms, India’s military will have no choice but
to forego this wacky but hugely effective
jugaad option that has stood it in good stead