This is an analysis of the ‘Security State of India, Pakistan with CPEC, and Afghanistan in turmoil interlinked with the machinations and interests of authoritative leaders of USA, China, Russia and Iran in South Asia”,
This, at a time when President Donald Trump has threatened North Korea and raised USA’s Defence Budget and challenged China in economic matters to balance trade and with dumping duty on steel, and hints to re-think of sanctions on Iran. The affaire Ex Cdr Kulbhushan Jadav who was working legally in Chah Bahar in Iran has been sentenced to death in Pakistan and created more ripples in India. Iran has made no public statement of defence on Jadhav.

Trump is a ‘change man’ with ‘Make USA Great Again’ just like PM Modi is too, with what IDF calls a Sagar Manthan to make ‘India Great’, and both look for people’s support with one party rule to succeed. PM Modi may wing to USA and Israel as President Trump is keen to make a new Pivot and a South Asia policy, as NSA McMaster hinted. India is USA’s strongest strategic partner, supplying over $ 13 bill of military hardware with Israel a No 3 supplier. USA and Israel co-operate on Defence sales India is being wooed by Russia also.

There are warts too. President Trump is reviewing USA’S ‘lifting of sanctions on Iran’, which may endanger India like USA’s Trump’s HIBI restrictions.. BJP’s Ministers of Commerce and Finance in USA say India will table objections and may even reciprocate restrictions. The future looks rosy and challenging too, with world economy perking to 3.5 % growth, India zooming at 7.2%. But China will grow $ 900 bill on 6.8% growth on $ 12 trill GDP and India only $ 250 bill at 7.2% ON $ 2.5 Trill GDP. APPX.

India’s ‘Bette Noir’ is Pakistan, with do or die ambitions in Afghanistan with Taliban still strong in the South and Helmand with fresh massive attacks on Afghan Army in Mazar-I-Sharif in the North as Taliban and War Lords are loaded with drug money, in record crops. Recent killing of 150 Afghan army by just 10, and 50 in a hospital happened after USA dropped the MOAB on the eve of NSA McMaster’s visit to Afghanistan. USA knows peace is not easy but President Trump means business, not only in Afghanistan, but in trouble spots as well, as USS Carl Vinson Task Force showed its teeth to North Korea’s IL-Jong.

India has to appreciate Pakistan is theoretically governed by a Civil Government under a dodgy PM Nawaz Sharrif who is under investigation, but Pakistan’s foreign and anti- India policy is controlled by the Army Chief Gen Bajwa with strict oversight by his 9 Corps Commanders and the Nuclear Strategic Force Commander (SFC). The Army just became stronger as PM Sharrif is nervous about his fate in Army’s hands, with his and family investments reported in UK’s Daily Mail which look dubiously arranged.

The 9 Corp Commanders of Pakistan control the ISI too, and its dirty tricks department, which skillfully directs Social Media ( Face Book, U Tubes, TV Shows and Articles and Twitter) to advantage with calibrated criticism of the Army being kosher, but in India Social Media is becoming a challenge for the BJP Government which has a different view of democracy, and RSS equates Nationalism with Hindutva that Indians will have to adjust to for good governance. Uttar Pradesh under a Hindutva leader is a shining example as he is cleaning up the state.

The argumentative liberal Indian will have to put a ‘tikka’ and be less argumentative, and it may work, as it has worked in many countries for development, and Government can take decisions without debate. The population will have to bear some inconvenience for swifter development. PM Modi showed it with Demonet, and deserves credit, and Indians may have to trust him as BJP/RSS are set for a one party rule and need support. BJP is strong on Political Intelligence and in USA Russia is being blamed for using political intelligence interference in the Presidential elections. That is a subject worth debate in Indian Think Tanks.

PM Modi has wisely used digital and social media to explain his development plans, but with cheap smart phones and service providers India’s youth (who visit porn sites), it will not be easy for Government to control Social media as less educated have become adept to use internet. Social Media can mislead; like the picture of a man tied to an Army jeep in Srinagar on 9th April in Budgam to save CRPF lives which spread like wild fire. India may see some stricter laws as PM admitted on Civil Services Day without mincing words.
The Army silently bears an unnecessary brunt by separatist Kashmiris and PDP-BJP turf battles with no immediate support from MOD, though AG Rohatgi rightly said a FIR against a 35 RR Unit was null and void! Voters kept away in Kashmir’s valley , not a good sign.

BJP supported by RSS runs top down, and few take initiative which system is a trait of Brahmanism and Karma in our Hindu DNA explained in many books and Indians Why We Are What We Are. India’s military will also have to adjust as a Jawan complained about quality of food on social media and it became a major issue, with PM ordering an inquiry, as he is kept well informed from various sources. Egalitarianism in the police, military and civil service will have to fade.

On security, the Pakistan-China nexus needs to be faced by India as even previous NSA Menon has cautioned that CPEC is illegal on India soil. It is evident both PM Modi as USA’s strongest partner and President Trump are on the same page to take on China and a new Dalai Lama from India and passports to Tibetans in exile in India are being considered. Both are Red Flags being shown to China which wants to rename places with Tibetan names in Arunachal it claims.

On Iran , Chah Bahar is India’s link to Afghanistan and CAR and reply to China’s Gwadar but dictatorial Iran wants a bigger say in Chah Bahar and will make India pay. The Iranian Government too is authoritative. It has issued guidelines for next month election debates, telling candidates they are not allowed to “blacken the image of the country… or the actions of the executive, administrative, legislative or judicial bodies”.

Gen McMaster was USA’s Cdr in Afghanistan. He came a calling to India after Afghanistan and Pakistan and met PM Modi and NSA AK Doval, and invited PM Modi to meet President Trump soonest. He said USA is concerned that Russia, China and Pakistan are getting closer and looks to co-operation. McMaster has probably never heard of Sagar Manthan, but would have been briefed of changes in India.

McMaster and analysts need to study one of the most celebrated myths of Hindu Gods ( which Hindutva follows with reverence to Ram and hence the Temple on Babri Masjid). Hindus revel in the extraction of Amrit (Nectar) the drink of immortality (For Political power) by the Gods (BJP and Affiliates) from the churning of the seas by punishing the Assuras (Devils) which are evils ( Corruption, curtail of choices and liberal democracy).

It is the era of authoritarian leaders like Trump, Xi Jinping, Erdogan, Putin, Le PENN and Theresa May and many leaders are attempting to Make their Nation Great with more power in their hands and even re –think EU’s future and immigration policies and immigrants behavior. The world may see some hate against immigrants which are surfacing.

India has grown under PM Modi in three years and needs support, just as one tries, “ Fair and Lovely “! A few years of ‘danda’ may help growth and reduce poverty and some strong surgical actions may see India rise sooner on the world stage and IOR. Shan No Varuna.


IDF has a pleasant duty on request of a military son, who repeats a Military, Civil and Police co-operation story in AID TO CIVIL POWER as a flashback of 1963 in West Bengal.

It is sent by Zal Kabraji son of Brigadier and later Maj Gen Kabraji of the days when the Army was allowed to be an Army.

Gen Kabraji was a Signal officer who commanded a Bde and a Div later it is learnt. He was a Parsi in the mould of the likes of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in the 1971 war, and Admiral Russi Ghandhi of INS BETWA fame in the GOA OP Vijay who acted like Nelson to sink the Portuguese frigate Albuquerque. They took their legitimate powers and duty seriously with no favour or fear ! And Rustamji of the Police who set up Mukhti Bahini in 1971.
In Ranjit Rai’s book Warring Nuclear Navies the Chapter on Mukhti Bahini extract reads as follows.

In Memoriam
The gates of our memories of Mukti Bahini will never close.
How much we remember you, no one knows.
Deep in our hearts you will stay.
You will always be remembered for that your last day,
So dear God, give them the message above
Tell them we miss them
Offer them our love encore
So that we can strive for them furthermore.

Ranjit Rai With Inputs By Col Sajjad Zahir ( Pakistan Army & East Bengal Rifles & Mukti Bahni).The heroic actions of Mukti Bahini are recounted.

The author in WARRING NUCLEAR NATIONS INDIA AND PAKISTAN is convinced all the wars the two nations have fought, except the 1971 war, were stalemated. India won the 1971 war in the East, mainly due to Mukti Bahini’s full support to the Army as navigators, and to the Indian Navy for clandestine operations in East Pakistan. PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi permitted Army Chief Gen. S.H.F.J. Manekshaw MC (later Field Marshal) to act as a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and his leadership proved critical to success.

Gen Sam Manekshaw and spymaster R&AW Chief R.N.Kao met Mrs Gandhi in April 1971. Kao knew Mrs Gandhi had told Manekshaw that she needed to go to war. Manekshaw visited BSF camps in mid 1971 and BSF gave Mukhti Bahini cover. When Col Osmany complained that the Indian Army under Maj Gen Jacob was overbearing with its orders. It was P.N.Haksar and Kao who intervened to allow a free hand to Mukti Bahini and gave it access to funds.

In seems in those days Army leaders were not cowed down by politicians as a mercenary force as the nation and leaders are treating the Forces today and some say so in Public. OROP and NFU breathe and promotions are for the special and 7th Pay Commission rules have still to be sorted out!

Even APSA is treated like a foot ball between MOD and Courts as the Army is sandwiched in Kashmir between BJP and PDP in power as both are most uncooperative with each other and the Valley burns. There Separatists are paying kids and terrorizing the population and only 7% voted in a Bye Poll and in a model democracy.

Media reports J&K Police has filed an FIR against the officer who tied Farooq Ahmad Dar a tailor to an Army jeep and used him as a human shield in what Army sources said was a “do-or- die situation” to save some para forces and he needs to be believed. The video was shared on social media, sparking an outrage over the incident.
The Jammu and Kashmir police have filed an FIR against the Indian Army for tying a man to a jeep as a human shield.

Police said it registered the first information report (FIR) in the Beerwa police station in Budgam district, the area where the video was believed to have been shot on 9th April when bypolls were held for Srinagar’s parliamentary seat and Farooq Abdullah won with 7% polling. The Deputy Inspector General of Police for central Kashmir, said the FIR was registered on 13th April.

Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti wrote on her official Facebook page, “In the ‘human shield’ video case FIR No 38/17 U/S 342/149/506&367 RPC has been registered in Police Station Beerwah on 13/4/17 . Investigation is being conducted by SDPO Magam. We shall ensure that investigations are taken to a logical conclusion so that action is taken.” Local news agency KNS reported that the investigation by police was conducted against army’s 53 Rashtriya Rifles unit.


“This is a little anecdote of mine—may or may not have anything to do with this particular incident but here goes for whatever its worth !

In 1963 my father had just taken over a newly raised Brigade in Calcutta—-at the same time Calcutta was involved in very serious civil rioting—all the Para military forces and local police could do almost nothing while Calcutta was actually burning down.

Then Army Commander Gen Henderson Brooks (a no nonsense Gen IDF met with his daughter as a Lt in the Navy) and his Chief of Staff a revered brilliant engineer officer of the Army, Gen Prem Bhagat, Victoria Cross ( He was denied COAS and retired and did wonders as Head of Damodar Valley Corp) went for a meeting called by Padmaja Naidu and she wanted the Army to quell the riots.

After the meeting the Generals called Brig Kabraji and asked him if he could put his brigade into action. My Dad said point blank——only if i have full powers to do what I want—-Both Generals–in one voice said , “Rusi do what you have to but put this bloody fire out”. (What the valley needs IDF offers).

So the Brigade was put into action at the drop of a hat! This is typical of the Indian army as in the same book in Op Lal Dora or Op Pawan).

My dad called the local police Chief to his office and asked him to guide him to the centre of the riot zone—the Police Chief went blue in the face—he told dad—we both will not come back alive if we go there—-dad told him that theory of yours may apply to you but not me and now before i have you bodily carried and put in my jeep–you better come along with me !!!!!

The military jeep had an LMG mounted on it with a proper gunner to man it and my Dad drove himself–they went into this most dangerous Mohalla (Area) of Calcutta where these goons lived—–as soon as the jeep arrived the Chief culprit stood in front and blocked the way—my Dad told him—I’m counting 5–when i’m finished—you are a dead man !!!!! IDF adds its allowed in AID TO CIVIL POWER WITH THE LOCAL MAGISTRATE AND IN THOSE DAYS POLICE CHIEFS WERE DESIGNATED SUCH.

At once the goon moved away and there was pin drop silence in the crowd. Next my Dad ordered the gunner to get down and mark each house in the Mohalla with a white chalk cross.

After it was over–Dad backed the jeep and as he was driving away—-the Chief goon stopped him and asked—what the crosses were all about—-Dad said—-listen carefully—–after this moment if there is any little arson, looting or murder, anywhere in the whole of Calcutta—-my gunner will come to this Mohalla and open up on these houses with the cross mark.

The goon pleaded, our women and children are also here you cannot do this and Dad replied–that is your problem how to protect them & before anything else, Dad drove off !!!!

There was not a single riot case after this and Calcutta was back to normal within 36 hours !!!! Best was–the taxi drivers heard about this and they were tickled pink !!! They invited my dad and Brigade officers for a drink and dinner–there was Johnny Walker and bhangra danced as they were thrilled with the action because they were the ones badly affected and a lot of damage was done to them in the riots “ ENDS .

IDF finds this interesting to visit the AID TO CIVIL POWER manual that Navy teaches and has used in Mumbai. The Army is more powerful and leaned on !


This is an IDF analysis by joining the media dots from India and Pakistan to explain the way Intelligence works in this new age of the internet spy business. As India rises, its Intelligence operatives will have to ripen and pro-actively guide the nation’s policy through storms of social media, talk shows and bytes on TV.

A CAN OF WORMS BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKSITAN OPENED when Indians, media and Parliament were electrified with the death sentence awarded to Ex Cdr Kulbhushan Jadhav after a General Court Martial (FGCM). He was apprehended in early March by Pakistan. Jadhav had worked in NHQ possibly in DNI.

Chinese and Pakistani interests in Gwadar clash with Indian, Iranian and Afghanistan’s interests in Chah-Bahar where Jadhav was legally working with access to the Free Trade Zone. A report stated a Counselor in Indian mission also left Tehran.

Pakistan always attempts to Internationalize India Pakistan issues and ISI furthers that with its dirty tricks department with terror against India. Int agencies have pro active branches, which are tightly controlled by the Political Displacement in denial. CIA, KGB and Israel’s Mossad have even arranged kidnaps and murders now glamourised in media and movies.

COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed the punishment and ISPR reported Jadhav was a spy working for RAW in Baluchistan. IDF assumes he was running a barge business under name sounding like Kaldidni in Iran, and was captured/abducted by Pakistan Intelligence. Slanted stories are doing the rounds in newspapers and TV in both countries.

Indian Navy formed Information Warfare (IW) under DNO. Today ‘White Lies’ are a part of Intelligence as a ‘Principle of War’. In the Mahabharat war truthful Yudishtra (Pandav) shouted to Dronacharya, “ ASHWATHAMA ADA” ( Kaurava your son is dead) adding softly the elephant (also) ashwathama. Dronacharya did not hear the latter and dropped his weapons and defence, to get killed.

Spying is the oldest profession after prostitution. Spies and innocents are even exchanged as in Kandhahar plane swap, and many times quietly deported especially if a suspected Diplomat with Immunity (Vienna Convention) is caught spying. He/she is asked to leave the country in 24/72 hours as ‘persona non gratia’. Books have names of Indians deported from Pakistan publicized as ISI propaganda.

A Navy Captain was being framed in Islamabad in the 1980s and he fled. Pakistani diplomats have been deported from India too as reciprocate actions, common world over, and every nation tries to save its citizens as story of Sarabajit Singh showed.

The Mission of the national arrested has a right under Vienna Convention Article 36(1)(c) as, ‘Consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the sending state (i.e. India in this case for Jadhav ) in prison, custody or detention, to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation, and in pursuance of a judgment.” This applies to Jadhav.

States do refuse to provide access to nationals specifically accused of espionage, as Pakistan has done. In such case the nation asks for a neutral mission to meet the prisoner to ensure well being and offer legal assistance.


Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif clarified that ALLEGED Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s sentencing was done according to the law and asserted that if India raises the issue of his death statement, Pakistan would give a reply. “Jadhav’s confession was a public document. He came with approval of the Indian government and there is no doubt that India is fuelling terrorism in Pakistan. Those plotting against Pakistan will not be spared.”

ISPR said Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 through an operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area for his alleged involvement in espionage and sabotage activities and the spy was tried and “confessed before a magistrate and court that he was tasked by Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities seeking to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan”.

(IDF adds another report said he was found at Chaman so where was picked he up ( at sea?) and from where…Iran ? Former German Ambassador Gunter Mullack stated at seminar, Jadhav was kidnapped in Iran by Taliban and sold and now doubts his own statement ? A report states Jadhav’s phone was active till few days before he disappeared. UN Sec Gen Guttres who has a dossier has been careful to say Issue should be mutually sorted out. )

The Ministry of External Affairs said that the former Indian naval officer ( 1987 NDA batch-46 ) was arrested by Pakistan for ALLEGEDLY engaging in subversive activities and was possibly and kidnapped from Iran. India denied any possibilities of him being involved in subversive activities as he used to run a business in the Iranian port city of Chabahar.

Jadhav was seen in a video confessing that he was an official of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency. (ANI) and media reported it was a doctored video.

Another media item reports that an FIR was filed at the Rawat police station in Rawalpindi by son of Lt Col (retd) Mohammed Habib Zahir on 8th April 8, complaining his father has gone missing from Nepal. He was lured by social media to Lumbini near Indian border where Mhaedesis abound, and he seems to have worked for Intelligence.


Gary Powers was Ex US Air Force and joined the CIA’s U-2 program in 1956, and flew espionage missions at altitudes above 70,000 feet (21 km), above Soviet air defenses, state-of-the-art cameras to take photos of military installations. USAF also operated U-2 flights from Charbatia in the 1960s, and USA may have helped at Chakrata in the 1960s, media reported.

On 1ST May , 1960, Powers’ U-2 took off the U.S. Air Station Badaber Peshawar Pakistan and was shot down by an S-75(SA-2) surface-to-air missile over Soviet Union. Fourteen missiles were fired and one hit a MiG-19 and pilot, Sergei Safronov ejected, but died.
Powers parachuted and rid himself of part of his suicide device, (silver $ coin around his neck), hoping to escape and was put in Lubyanka Prison Moscow.

U.S. government issued a statement claiming its “weather plane” had strayed off course after “difficulties with pilot’s oxygen equipment”. Powers made a confession and a public apology for espionage and on 19th aug , 1960 he was convicted by Army generals, Borisoglebsky, Vorobyev, and Zakharov and Gary’s father fielded attorney McAfee, and CIA provided two attorneys in defence. Powers sentence was ten years confinement, not death, and held in Vladamir prison East of Moscow, and got very distracted by his wife Barbara’s drinking and infidelities he learnt of.

On 19th February 1962, Powers was swiftly exchanged, along with US student Frederic Pyor in a publicized ‘spy swap’ at Germany’s Glienke Bridge in divided Berlin with Col Vilayam Fisher known as “Rudolf Abel”, who had been caught by the FBI in USA and tried and jailed for espionage. Powers’ total time in captivity was 1 year, 9 months and 10 days.

Pollard is the only American who has received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the U.S. Israel in the 1980s. He was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995.

Lt Das a Navy Clearance Diver had operated with Mukhti Bahini in 1971 and died in an accident and his body was offered By East Pakistan. India denied. His mother was recently honored by PM Hasina in presence of PM Modi at the Manekshaw Centre, and DAS BLOCK set up at THE Diving School.

“Intelligence in business is called “Biz Int” and Companies make big money with Head Hunters who are well paid. Intelligence for matrimony is called “Background Check”, and “Check on Your Spouse/ Kids” , and so comes “War Intelligence of the Enemy”. This is being played out between India’s Jadhav and Col Md Habib Zahir has entered the scene.

In the case of BIZ INT Indian head of McKinsey Gupta, he joined Goldman Sachs and was an informant for his friend from Sri Lanka and a partner for investments but was caught and punished in USA. In India many books report that every Government has a mole from abroad and so in this era of Cyber and Social media one can get MUCH intelligence from open inputs, facebook and mems in Pen Drives so South Block does not allow pen drives after the War Room Leak which was used to cover up the Scorpene scandal and Lt Cdr K Sankaran is still at large and some one is funding him.

The NSA report on Powers and Lt Das remains classified but the Movie the Bridge of Spies tells the first, and Lt Das’s actions are is briefly threaded from media and Bangla Desh in book Warring Nuclear Nations –India Pakistan ISBN 978-93-5156-638-0.
Welcome to the world of use of Dirty Tricks in Intelligence as MEA spokesman has ruled out any swap talk.


India celebrated its 54th National Maritime Day on 5th April, commemorating the Day in 1919 when India’s first Indian owned Vessel SS Loyalty of the Scindia Steam Navigation Co Ltd sailed from Bombay to Southampton, and broke the British monopoly for India’s sea trade. Scindia’s was run like P&O the Gold Standard, and many joined Indian Navy in the Second World War but later Government owned Shipping Corporation (SCI) attracted many of its crew as it was a little more easy going, than a hard core shipping company and SCI took experienced Naval officers as Chief Officers.

Mrs Sumati lived frugally and once in New York asked the Hotel for a taxi to go to the docks dressed in a saree, to visit one of her ships in port. She asked the taxi driver to wait at the jetty and after an hour the Taxi driver went up the ship’s gangway and asked the duty officer, “ Hey Buddy, will that old lady be able to pay the bill, she has to go back to the hotel ?” The Duty officer replied, “Do not worry, she owns this ship and many more”.
The story was reported in the New York papers and but National Maritime Day was first celebrated in 1964 more at Ports than Inland as the importance of the seas does not get understood in land , called Sea Blindness. Even today Gujrat is a leading maritime state of India as Gujratis understand the importance of economy from the seas and Veraval is a leading port for marine exports. PM Modi and Amit Shah are Gujratis !

Scindia’s did well for 50 years but after Shipping Corporation of India entered, competition was severe and Government cargo was restricted in favour to SCI and cargo from USA was in Conference with Waterman Shipping Corporation New Orleans USA with SCI. IDF was WSC’s India rep for 12 years till 2004 when WSC ships went to aid the Iraq war and WSC co-operated with SCI and Transchart for cargo.

Indian Maritime Foundation (IMF) an NGO headquartered in Pune with Navy and Merchant Navy as members and branches all over and abroad celebrated the day and the message was sent out from IMF to its members, on this very important day !
“On behalf of the President Hony Cmde Rajan Vir Indian Maritime Foundation (IMF), its office bearers, members all addressed please accept our felicitations on India’s National Maritime Day”.

The day was celebrated with a function at the YB Chavan Auditorium, Nariman Point, Mumbai, hosted by the Directorate General of Shipping and the Shipping Corporation of India, and had participation from the merchant marine, shipping industry and maritime sector. Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, FOC-in-C, Western Naval Command was the Chief Guest, received by Dr Malini V Shankar, DG Shipping and Captain Anoop Sharma, CMD, Shipping Corporation of India Limited and Capt BB Sinha, Chairman, National Maritime Day Celebrations Committee. A Guard of Honour was presented to the C-in-C by the cadets of Indian Maritime University, Mumbai Campus.

During the function, awards for excellence were given by to selected shipping companies, seafarers and service providers, for their achievements. In his address the C-in-C highlighted the importance of the maritime domain in national, regional and global growth and development. He emphasised that the Indian Navy and the Indian merchant marine complement each other, for operations at sea. He brought out the emerging trends in the Indo-Pacific region, merchandise trade, export-import and the new focus on the maritime domain. He stated that the Indian Navy has adapted its strategy to the changing environment, in order to promote and strengthen security, stability and safety at sea.

IDF adds these are tough days for Bulker shipping with dip in volume of world trade but never has this sector and Indian Ocean been so important to India’s growth, development and security than it is now and we should endeavour to promote the importance of the maritime domain for India in shaping future policy as well as awareness at every level, particularly amongst India’s youth which will be increasingly reliant on this domain for their future well being and indeed sustenance.

The U Tube on SAGARMALA PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s dream for maritime India was announced by him on 15th Aug 2004 from Red Fort and it was crafted in Ministry of Shipping and PMO just a few days earlier, as PM Vajapyee wanted a ‘Dhamaka’ announcement of Rs 60,000 Cr in Maritime Infrastructure and IDF working closely with Transchart in Shipping Ministry and shipping company heads contributed with suggestions. It is linked below .


Sagarmala is PM Modi and Minister Nitin Gadkari’s Flagship Maritime thrust to increase Port Capacity, plan SEZs near the coast, increase industrial activity along the coast and improve connectivity and encourage a Blue economy. It is poised to develop six ports in maritime states. The programme is supported by PM’s acronym SAGAR (Security and Growth for All) and has links with India’s Act East policy which is PM Modi’s ambitious outward Foreign Policy dreams for India and why not IDF adds ?

It will surprise many that India only accounts for around 2 % of total global trade by sea. India has a merchant shipping fleet of around 576 ships and ranked around 14th in the world in terms of around dead weight 12 million tonnage under its flag, and some Indian ships are flagged abroad for tax benefits but are controlled from India with Internet and 24×7 contact with the Fleet and owners. But the overall share of Indian ships in the carriage of the country’s overseas seaborne trade has been declining over the years and over 50% of the carriage is on foreign bottoms when 90 % of the country’s total trade by volume and 70 % by value is done by ships.

Shipping is capital intensive, crews have to be paid high wages and makes it difficult for Indian shipping to employ foreign talent. The trend of low carrying capacity can be largely attributed to the greater tax advantages available to a majority of foreign players vis-à-vis Indian flag vessels, particularly with respect to the current treatment of service tax on voyages and time charters, which make Indian shipping more expensive. This restrictive regime has resulted in an uneven playing field for national shipping lines in the country, resulting in stagnation of capacities and increased reliance on foreign flag vessels. Merchant shipbuilding needs subsidies as in China and initially in USA by MARAD, Japan and Korea.
Out of India’s fleet, 70 per cent of the vessels with only 10 per cent of the total gross tonnage are devoted to coastal operations, while the remaining 30 per cent with 90 per cent of gross tonnage are deployed for overseas trade. While 53 per cent of Indian tonnage is in the oil tanker category, 32 per cent was accounted for by dry cargo bulk carriers and 11 per cent by dry cargo liners, with offshore supply vessels making up the rest. Cabotage law restricts foreigners to invest in Coastal shipping which is cheaper than road or rail, clogged in India. But as India grows so will India’s Mercantile Fleet and coastal shipping will be inescapbale………Shan No Varuna.

Two women, the first since October 2015, graduate from Army Ranger school
By: Meghann Myers, April 3, 2017 (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Scott Brooks/Army)
Two female infantry officers completed the Army’s rigorous Ranger School on Friday, along with 117 men, according to an Army spokesman.

The women are the first since October 2015, when Army Reserve Maj. Lisa Jaster became the third woman to earn the coveted Ranger Tab.

“These two female officers had previously graduated from the Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course and continued their functional education courses, which includes attending the Army’s premier leadership course, U.S. Army Ranger School,” Ben Garrett told Army Times.

The women were two of 10 to graduate from the first integrated IBOLC course back in October, bringing the total number of Ranger-qualified women to five.

Army Times
Ten women graduate from the Army’s first integrated infantry officer course

Following basic officer graduation, prospective infantry platoon leaders spend the next year at a series of schools and training, from Ranger and Airborne schools to the Stryker Leader Course and the Mechanized Leader Course.

Once they’re ready for assignment, the women will be sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, or Fort Hood, Texas, where the Army is fielding its first gender-integrated infantry platoons.

Also in that pipeline are Capts. Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver, the first two women to finish Ranger school, in August 2015.


This is an IDF analysis of President Putin’s game plan who is consolidating power in Ukraine, has bases in Syria by supporting President Assad with selected military attacks on Rebels and IS (USA- Saudi vs Iran), and continues close relations with Iran with supply of military hardware and is pressurizing the Baltics to keep out of NATO and Ballistic Missile Defence. Putin has put some Russia’s eggs in President Trump’s basket hoping sanctions are eased. ‘Read My Lips’ said shrewd President Putin.

India’s relations with USA and Russia need attention as President Xi Jinping the unknown, goes to meet Trump, to iron out their contentious issues including the South China Seas, North Korea and trade. Both need each other, and Trump has many other priorities than attend to India so he has invited PM Modi later this year

A famous idiom, “You cannot run with the Hare (Sic… Russia) and hunt with the Hounds ( Sic.. USA) and support two competing sides by courting two suitors. You’ve got to decide where you stand. You cannot have it both ways, and have both their cakes, and eat them too, as the fat Cat(Sic..China) watches”.

India proved the idiom wrong after Soviet Union collapsed and has grown in stature and has had it good with USA and Russia as it showed green shoots to shed ‘Non Alignment’ for ‘Strategic Autonomy’. USA’s President Bush Jr more and Obama less treated India with kid gloves with an unconsummated Nuclear Deal driven through NSG personally by Bush Jr with China’s top brass in a Quid Pro Quo for China’s Grandfather agreement for Pakistan’s nuclear reactors. Obama cleared defence technology and got India to sign LEMO for co-operation but BECA and CISMOA are still born for closer relations, awaiting Strategic Partnership rules to make in India under DTTI.

India skillfully used the Nuclear Deal to get accepted as a nuclear power and got US technology with latest 12 P8is with Raytheon and Telephonics radars Mk 48 Torpedoes and Mk 84 Harpoons, 10 C-17s, 12 C-130Js and soon 22 Apaches with missiles and 16 Chinooks and Space co-operation continued. India’s leadership and Diplomats need to be congratulated.

Hence PM Modi needs the continuation of FS Subrahmanyam Jai Shankar with extensions, as he flies around. So does NSA AK Doval looking after India’s rise with military heads as a CDS. A former Ambassador and Naval Chief in USA’s war college would also be reporting support, with friends in Pentagon and Foggy Bottom.

Russia is still looking for replacement for late Amb Kadakin their super Ambassador in Delhi. Russia still needs India as India needs Russia less but India cannot help in Afghanistan which Pakistan can. That is one key change.

Russia had little option but to continue support to India after cold war ended as India gave employment to Russian Defence Industry with Krivacks ($ 4 bill), aircraft carrier Gorshkov at Sevmash ($3 bill), 45 Mig -29Ks, refit of Kilos among other supplies SU-30MKI and spares supplies and T-90 tanks to Army.

But USA swiftly over took Russia as India’s largest foreign defence supplier. India became the world’s No 1 importer. Russia kept its promises and gave India nuclear submarines with nuclear safety and technology to build nuclear submarine bases and the INS Arihant, reported to be purring away under uranium power with fire and forget K-15/B-05 missile capability. The Arihant’s story is kept even away from non –nuclear Naval Eyes, so the nation does not know what an achievement it has been to emulate, as two more larger submarines follow with long ranged K-4 missiles in a DRDO-Navy PPP with Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T). No other nation may have done this.

Russia continues support for 272 SU-30MKI top fighters with long range missiles. Few know they scrapped 40 first supplied modified SU-27s and left most next to the IAF Lohegaon airfield and continued product support when Russia’s economy dipped in difficulty. Russia now promises, Make in India but takers are few unless government goads private Industry with sops and ASSOCHAM is discussing this.

The Navy got the darling missile, the fire and forget BrahMos which the West is still trying to ape. USA supported India’s entry to MTCR and soon BrahMos will be longer ranged with Army and Air Force too. All this and success of Agni- V gave China goose pimples, and today India stands as a power if its Structural Command and Control can be honed.

PM Modi and his RSS advisers in BJP as Secretaries Ram Mahadev and Rao who had visited USA even before Modi and BJP came to power. It was clear a mere CDS would not solve Indian military’s structure, so at Commander’s Conference in Dehra Dun PM it is reported rightly ordered a study to create Theatre Commands like Xi Jinping has done in China, and all nations have. IDF could structure that but will Chiefs agree ??

Russian economy seems reviving with oil prices but it views the ‘Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement’ (EDCA)with the US that RM Parrikar signed after ordering $ 15 bill of hardware as worrisome. Also Reliance Defence’s MOU to get 7th Fleet ships to be refitted in India and Indian Navy informally declined joint sea patrolling, worrying it may get sucked in to South China Sea.

RM Parrikar before demitting office nominated Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) to build two Krivacks (Gregorovich Class) and will probably be fitted out at MDL as a sop. This was promised to President Putin at BRIC Summit at Goa last September along with two Krivacks from Russia and T226 helicopters with HAL and ROSTEC. In Project 75India Russia tabled access to improved Kilo-class (Project 636 ‘Varshavyanka’) submarine construction technology to Reliance (Pipavav) & L&T under license, but media reports DCNS will get that contract. HAL and Air Force’s FGFA and FTA Russia awaits traction .

In this back ground Russia has provided 3 MI-35 Attack helicopters to Pakistan, signed a pipe line and power contract and Russian Navy carried out a basic Naval exercise with Pakistan Navy in September 2016 after attending the Conclave at Baharia Karachi university run by the Navy to train its engineers. Both armies have co-operated in anti-terror exercises and relations seem warming with Afghanistan and CPEC and Gwadar in sight and so India needs to see how it can contribute to balance USA and Russia as in the past.

Pakistan’s biggest challenge is its Frankensteinian terrorism and attacks so it is involving China and Russia. This Islamic terror and IS creates a challenge for India, which for years has been trying to engineer Pakistan’s isolation, but Pakistan’s geographic Pivot position attracts military and economic ties with key global players and investments and runs against New Delhi’s attempts to isolate it.

India is paranoid about development of CPEC, as it passes through regions of India, as both claim as nuclear-armed nations. CPEC could result in internationalization of their territorial dispute or surgical actions. Cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and Pakistan has grown in recent times.

A good example is that of a Russian delegation led by Deputy CGS General Sergi Yuryevich. He was accompanied by Pakistan Army brass and visited Miran Shah in North and Wanna in South Waziristan, the first ever to visit the conflict-terror base areas. They appreciated Pakistan Army’s efforts to clear FATA from all terrorists , and manage the border; “The delegation acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s achievements in the fight against terrorism and efforts to bring stability in the region.”

In recent years, Russia and India have seen communication gaps and somewhat cooler relations. While experts can continue to argue about the reason for Russia’s sudden shift towards Pakistan, IDF is clear it is India warming up to the United States, Russia’s traditional rival, that motivated Moscow to seek closer ties with Pakistan which struggles to get stability and its foot print in Afghanistan and China backs it to the hilt.
More and more frequently, India has been excluded from Russian foreign policy. Recently, Russia held trilateral consultations on regional issues and invited only Pakistan and China. India not invited to the talks to discuss Afghanistan, but it should have been and observer.

India has never enjoyed close ties with China, its traditional rival in the region, but it is likely to isolated from the two biggest power players of Asia – China and Russia – at the same time. So the question is India Russia Bhai Bhai cooling stands answered and IDF will watch Trump. Shan No Varuna.


IDF heard diverse views in the last two weeks in Delhi and Mumbai. Dozens of delegates spoke at IDSA, USI, ICS, ICWA, ORF and other venues as winter receded and a pompous BJP celebrated UP victory re-igniting Ram Mandir and Hindutva issues. Think Tanks especially Government/ BJP or Industry funded are cash rich so competed for space and attendance. China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and economies of nations with BREXIT dominated themes with Trump’s policies-all known, unknowns ?

This then, is an analysis of a risen cash laden ambitious China, with modern infrastructure and an aging population versus a still rising India, struggling with decrepit infrastructure and a young bulge of 200 mill seeking jobs in a terror and ‘new experimental religious policies’ charged land. Both wish to dominate the Indian Ocean and South Asia without saying so. Is it a geo-political clash ?

China has employed OROB, CPEC and MSR on pleas to promote infrastructure and stability (while pursuing its national interests) ? Is it like USA’s Marshall Plan which professed it was to control Communism and preserve Democracy (USA’S Republican Capitalism) ? Marshall Plan ensured USA’s Military Industrial Complex(MIC) grew but today it is laced with Huntington’s Clash of civilizations (IS) and deficits ? IDF attempts analysis.

IDF states that the military, especially Naval Leadership in the PLA (Navy) is now professional not political as in the past. Harbin University and Ukraine are stealthily providing amazing technology to the PLA(N), that USN calls ‘China’s Third Force’, crying out for India to be a trusted ally. NSA Doval met Def Sec Mattis in DC and many issues must have been discussed and shared with the Chiefs on return, as he does fill in for a CDS.

By chance IDF saw long serving PLA CNS Admiral Wu Shengli (2006-17) in Delhi, as a guest of CNS Adm Suresh Mehta. Wu politely and silently eked out views on Indian Navy’s experience in anti piracy operations off the Horn of Africa, which Navy provided, possibly unaware a PLA(N) Task Force with Marines was being prepared for the task. Indian Navy’s professional advice must have helped PLA(N) in its anti piracy in early days.

The PLA(N) since 2006 has done better than many Navies off Somalia with larger continuous task forces called expeditionary, with land grab too. PLA (n) now has a base in Djoubiti and influence in Seychelles and Maldives which Amb Ali Hussain Didi from Maldives very cogently explained is by neglect of the Commonwealth and India to let China in. Soon Saudi Arabia may invest $ 10 bill in Fafoo atoll. He also explained the GMR’s spoilt bid to construct Male airport and hinted it was in AW-101/ Bofor style in a diplomatic way, which MEA got involved in. It soured relations that Navy and CG keeps building in IOR.

Again by chance in 2015 at IMDEX in Singapore, IDF met young budding professional 57 year old Rear Adm Jinlong Shen who impressed IDF at the conference where he spoke confidently as China’s Southern Fleet Commander responsible for South China Sea (SCS), Anti Piracy Patrols and Indian Ocean Region even sending nuclear submarines there. Later that evening IDF met Jinlong and briefly quizzed him on SCS and IOR on board INS Kadmatt’s reception Flying the Flag of then Radm AB Singh (Vadm in SFC now ). Jinlong invited IDF to PLA(N) Yulin which exercised with the Republic of Singapore Navy and were impressed, but did not allow IDF to go below deck. (Report and photos in India Strategic).

To IDF’s pleasant surprise Jinlong has become an Adm and Chief of PLA(Navy 59). After Adm Wu(71) the long serving architect of the Modern PLA(N). Wu continues in the powerful CMC , IDF agrees PLA(Navy) “Is China’s Third Force” – ranged against the USA’s Pivot and India’s Net Security Provisions in the IOR and all Western statements for SCS. China uses Pakistan which the Pakistani delegate who spoke via Skype, described Pakistan as the Geographic Pivot for Arabian Sea and Hormuz where all oil transits and said China is our friend.

Prof Abdul Mufti from Afghanistan spoke at South Asia Conference with US accent and showed how many eggs and India’s maritime response to Gwadar is in Chabahar but refused to specify what investment so far India or Afghanistan has made and assured roads are ready. He called Afghanistan no more land locked but ‘land linked’ to the sea, and CAR. M/s Shebonti Dadwal an energy expert was critical of India’s decision making and asked if President Trump will upset Iran-US policy, assured by Obama ?

CENJOS discussed ISR, and CII-Army hosted DEFCOM. Both were well attended and had exhibits as the Biz for Army’s BMS, ISR and Reconnicance and Satellites and Fiber optics, UAVs and Data Communications and WAN waiting to be ordered is over $ 6 bill (Rs 38,000 cr). There appears no scope or hurry in the current weak Defence Budget but is inescapable as Ex CNS Arun Prakash suggested in IE, along with Structural changes few politicians may appreciate.

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat addressed both meets, so with Olive Green Stars and retinues, sellers and buyers South and Sena Bhavan and Habitat Centre had no parking for 1 km range. India’s infrastructure is reaching its limits as growth and aspirations rise, it is impossible to drive around without a driver in most metros. Parking under ground that all metros plan is absent in any Government’s thinking. FM says India’s growth will accelerate with GST and Armed Forces hope Canteen tax discounts continue under FM/RM Jaitley and Demonet will allow infrastructure spending ?

ICWA hosted Hyderabad educated Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Dr Lechos, and the Nehru Centre hosted Amb Mukherjee on India and Central Asia and world traveled economist Editor, and Media adviser to PM Dr MMS Dr Sanjaya Baru gave a brilliant expose of China’s rise and power and technology from equality with India in the 1970s to No 3 and soon No 1 economy, currently 4/5 times India. Chinese now looking for Happiness he showed all in an excellent clear power point lecture at USI. The best on China’s strategic economy so far along with Dr Aye Lwin from Myanmar at IDSA.

IDF adds China is concerned by PM Modi leadership phenomenon and respects the prowess of the Future Indian Navy which is written up in Jane’s and NR and condensed and depicted in Navy Diary 2017 by Neil Harvey and Ranjit Rai (Rs 200/-) with copies distributed world over from UK. Interest in Navy in India is minimal with rampant ‘Sea Blindness’. At the launch by Gen JJ Singh China’s Naval Attaché was spotted with attaches as China considers the Indian Navy to be a capable force in its the Indian Ocean Region calculus. Navy’s Military Maritime Strategy alludes to it.

CNS JINLONG SHEN spoke in a video conference with officers and sailors of the 25th Escort Fleet in the Gulf and others as PLA Navy Chief. He has commanded the 10th Destroyers North Sea Fleet, and the Lyushun Logistic Base. In 2010, he became President of the Dalian Naval Academy, and later the Nanjing Naval Command College and Commander of the South China Fleet. He led three warships in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) in Hawaii 2014 with Indian Navy Type 17 and 25 navies and a 5-day visit to San Diego, and impressed US Navy. He had replaced Admiral Jiang Weilie, who became Deputy Chief and supersedes many to become CNS.

Shen’s predecessor, Adm Wu Shengli, joined PLA in 1964, was Captain of warships and moved up to Command the South Sea Fleet before becoming Deputy Chief Of General Staff in 2004 and Commander PLA Navy in 2006, the second longest CNS of the PLA Navy, surpassed only by Xiao Jinguang a political appointee (1950-80). Wu remains member of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the country’s highest military body. With Jinlong both will be clear on China’s IOR and SCS policies where White Shipping has not been impeded, but US Navy has challenged the PLA (N). The Indian mission in Beijing must have analysed these two policies for the Indian Navy and MEA to plan, in case waters get muddied by a ‘Gung Ho Trump’.

China was the focus in most discussions. Indians are concerned with its closeness to Pakistan, and the Great Game that China has won for a Warm Water Port Gwadar next to India in the Arabian Sea and CPEC. What it portends for the future concerns India as PM Modi has made it clear it is on Indian Territory. Dr Sajaya Baru who was the youngest member in NASB in the late 1990s re-iterated China and Pakistan have to be seen as a joint grouping in all India’s calculus. Shan No Varuna.


This is a special report on the poignant decommissioning of Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier INS Viraat on 6th March at the Naval Dockyard, a befitting farewell to one of the longest serving warships under two Ensigns- the Royal and Indian Navy.

A record number of 21 of the 22 Commanding Officers of the carrier (Adm Nirmal Verma away in US Naval War College Rhode Island as a Research Fellow ) attended the ceremony. Six went on to become Chief of Naval Staffs, which is creditable.

This is a different version of the piece in INDIA STRATEGIC, and is posted to publicise the fact that the Indian Navy counts as one of the six navies which possesses the ability and continuous aviation manpower skills since 1961 to man an aircraft carrier, and operate carrier borne aircraft, which is lost upon the critics especially the Indian Air Force who find the Navy’s effort imprudent, expensive and mostly unnecessary.

CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba took the salute and there were moist eyes in most of the men present who had served on board and the Commanding Officers who captained the ship during her memorable career, graced by Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord Adm Jones who flew in for the ceremony from UK.

Admiral Lanba was handed over the folded Ensign by the Captain after it was hauled down for the last time and this is the ship’s story.

INS Viraat served the Royal Navy for 25 years (1959-1984) and Indian Navy for 30 long years (1987-2017). She was sent for de-gutting to Cochin Shipyard Ltd in Aug-2016 and was towed back so her future is uncertain, and could be made a museum, a hotel or even be scrapped, which will be a shame. Viraat carries 30 years of Indian Navy’s checkered history, that helped Indian Navy to seamlessly commission INS Vikramaditya.

The aviation arm of any Navy is the ‘eyes and a power arm in the sky’, and Indian Navy is one of the six powerful three dimensional Navies in the world that has continuously operated aircraft carriers since the 1960s. Carriers are large expensive man power intensive platforms to operate, but an essential component of a large Navy for sea control, deterrence and more recently Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and evacuation operations.

Indian officers and sailors performed well in the Secord World War (1939-45) and gained operational experience as part of the Royal Indian Navy (RIN) which gave confidence to Lord Louis Mountbatten to script a three aircraft carrier Indian Navy plan in 1948 itself. Navy looks to achieve this in the coming decades as the Navy will be a two carrier Navy when the new 37,500 ton Vikrant under construction at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) joins the INS Vikramaditya with her MiG-29Ks. A third carrier is a part of the sanctioned naval plan, and the 65,000 ton carrier that media has named Vishal, is on the drawing board of the Naval designers.

So it was that the Indian Navy acquired the 19,000 ton Majestic class HMS Hercules aircraft carrier and she was refitted and commissioned as INS Vikrant on 4th March, 1961 in UK by India’s High Commissioner Mrs Vijayalakshmi Pandit. The ship worked up her squadron of Sea-Hawk fighter jets and the French ASW Breguet Alizes in UK and off Gibraltar and Malta, and was received in Bombay later that year by Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru at the Ballard Pier. INS Vikrant with her motto Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah in Sanskrit, meaning I completely defeat those who fight with me proved her worth in the 1971 war to liberate Bangla Desh. Vikrant operated as the Eastern Fleet flagship in the Bay of Bengal and her planes de-fanged the Pakistan Air Force in East Pakistan and attacked airfields and shore bases with the Indian Air Force operating more North.

In the mid 1980s the Sea Hawks were aging and UK offered the Sea Harrier jump jets as replacement planes for Vikrant. The US Navy Marines were flying the more powerful AV-2B Harriers from US Navy carriers, which encouraged Indian Navy pilots to carry out Sea Harrier trials on Vikrant and looked out for a second hand aircraft carrier. HMS Hermes was decommissioned in UK in 1984, and was to be scrapped.

The Hermes’s keel was laid in Vickers Armstrong Yard at Birkenhead on 21st June, 1944 and commissioned on 16th February, 1959. She saw service in the Indian Ocean in the 1960s and was a through deck cruiser in name, with Sea Harriers operating from her decks and saw action in the Falklands war in 1982. Hermes flew over 2300 Sea Harrier sorties and downed more than 30 Etendard fighters and planes of Argentina that helped Britain to retain the Falklands and thwarted Argentina’s attempt to take the Falklands.

In 1985 the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RH Tahiliani a Test Pilot himself with Vikrant and Sea Hawk experience deputed a team to UK to inspect the Hermes and report back. The Ministry of Defence sanctioned and negotiated its purchase for around $ 85 million with conditions to refit the ship with accommodation for troops, a hardened 14 degree ski jump for vertical landing and short take offs (VSTOL) and conversion of Navy’s experienced pilots. The Royal Navy looked at it as a better option than scrapping, and after a year of refit in 1986 under the watchful eyes of naval engineers INS Viraat was commissioned at Plymouth on 12th March, 1987 under the command of Sea Hawk pilot Capt Vinod Pasricha with Sea Harrier fighters and Sea King helicopters. Incidentally this writer had handed over command of INS Vindhyagiri to Pasricha from where he went to UK for the Viraat and had a very successful tenure.

INS Viraat was received in July 1987 by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi twenty miles off Mumbai where he landed in a Sea King accompanied by Admiral RH Tahiliani and PMO staff. Rajiv was shown the full capabilities of the fighters and helicopters with take offs, firings, landings and a fly past in strong monsoon winds and rough seas. PM Gandhi a pilot himself was thrilled and went around the ship’s Fly control room (flyco), operations room, medical and dental facilities which included an operating theatre and congratulated the 1500 personnel on the ship, when the sobriquet ‘Viratee’, was coined for anyone who served on INS Viraat.

For the next 30 years the powerful wings of the 300 Squadron Sea Harrier Tigers and the 330 Squadron Sea King MK42B/C and 321 Squadron Alloutte helicopters lifted off its deck soaring in to the sky scouring the expanse of blue waters with keen eyes and radars and EW systems her boilers steaming 2252 days at sea sailing across 5,88,287 nautical miles (10,94,215 KM). INS Viraat clocked 22,622 flying hours in the three decades participated in various international joint exercises like Exercise Malabar (USA) with USN carriers flying F-18s and nuclear submarines, exercise Varuna with France’s nuclear powered Charles de Gaulle flying Entendards and Rafales, and Naseem-Al-Bahar (Oman Navy). She has also been an integral element of all annual theater level exercises (TROPEX). The last operational deployment of Viraat was for the International Fleet Review (IFR 2016) off Vishakhapatnam in Feb 2016. Viraat was in refit for the Kargil war in 1999 war when the combined fleets executed the Navy maneouver to form and exclusive zone off Pakistan coast, but was the Flagship for the combined Fleets in Op Parakaram Dec 2000-Oct 2001.

On aircraft carriers thousands of men serve on board in war and peace and go with memories of planes flying and landing on small decks dubbed ‘Postage Stamps’ which even their families carry etched in their minds and hearts. So as the world’s oldest serving aircraft carrier recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. INS Viraat was also affiliated to the Garhwal Rifles after taking part in Operation Jupiter in 1989 during the Sri Lankan Peacekeeping operation, and was decommissioned for the second and last time. The median age of warships is any where from 25 to 35 years when front line service is not easily feasible, as even in peace time Navies test the old for war duty with the new ships. Viraat kept up with new radars, Barak-1 AA and EW systems and Sea Harriers added Derby missiles, to upkeep its motto, Jameva Yasya, Balameva Tasya in Sanskrit meaning “He who rules over the seas is all powerful” till her end. The Sea Harrier fleet was decommissioned at Goa on 11 May 2016. RIP the giant Viraat till another avatar rules the seas for India’s security and rise. Shan No Varuna.


What a long drawn out drama the Enrica Lexie Italian Marines case (2012-16) became, now forgotten as Sine Die like all sea blindness matters in India and this time led by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), it is evident. To save face ? or lacked courage to take a legal decision IDF debates !

(Definition of sine die. without any future date being designated as for resumption: indefinitely—- अनिश्चित काल के लिए-anishchit kaal ke lie) .

And how expensive and damaging it was to India’s reputation as a budding Maritime Power as it concerned UNCLOS 1982 that India is a signatory to, which upholds International Law unlike China which shows teeth.

After much ado, political and legal, it looks India has given in to into UNCLOS International Waters Jurisdiction where the two Malyali fishermen were shot dead by trigger happy Italian Marines Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone off Quilon in high seas—And no further legal action is contemplated ? Has legal common sense prevailed ?

Another case of KACHITIVU International border VERDICT in High and Supreme Courts between India and SrI Lanka are doing rounds like ‘Shuttle Cocks’ for years as politics of Tamil Nadu played a role in dispensation of fair maritime Law, or let it go to International Court of Justice, which Bangla Desh with China’s help did and gained sea space over India, as India did not agree to mutual agreement allowed under UNCLOS. This is best left to current Leadership, as it frays Sri Lanka relations and Navy and Coast Guard are told to act with kid gloves by Tamil Nadu.

The other Sir Creek boundary issue is settled in files and meetings and President Gen Musharraf stated it could be settled in minutes as both Chief Hydrographers have agreed to Legal Median Lines and Outer Sea boundary rules of the UNCLOS 1982 but Kashmir and terror issues and, “ No Talks with Pakistan rule it out”, so Indian fishermen suffer ! And will continue.
Pakistan has settled for the award of a large Extended EEZ by UNCLOS as India’s award is pending but this is with Ministries of Ocean Sciences and MEA Legal mandarins, and must be doing their bit. Yet Indus water talks are scheduled with Pakistan.

This then, is an IDF analysis and commentary of the deficient and insecure state of dispensation of Maritime Law in MEA (Legal and Treaties Division), the Ministry of Earth Sciences which is in Charge the Oceans, and the Judiciary which was unable to decide the ‘jurisdiction’, the crux, in the Italian Marine case of killing two Indian Fishermen 21.2 nm from India’s coast. It was finally stalled at Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Kapadia’s level, who ordered a Special court. The case would have finally again landed up in the Supreme Court !!! Few realise that gives the final verdict.

On 19th Feb 2012 ( 4 pm) Italian MV Enrica Alexie off Quilon headed to the North to avoid pirates, had Italy’s Parliament approved Armed Italian Marines as guards on board. Arms by guards was legally allowed by IMO on merchantmen.

Enrica Lexie saw Kerala fishing boat St Anthony, approaching. The boat netting, did not heed warning shots. Trigger happy Marines apprehended it was a pirate attack and felled two Malayali fisher men at around 21 Nautical miles away in high seas agreed by GPS records. Indian fishermen look to big ships altering course.

India’s land ‘jurisdiction’ laws CRPC in Kerala took on the high seas as Territorial Waters, disregarding Maritime Zones Act, 1976 (Maritime Zones Act), read in consonance with the 1982 UNCLOS, as it extends only up to 12 miles from the coast and the waters beyond are International waters. That is what Enrica Lexie was.

The politics in Kerala with elections nearing saw Defence Minister AK Antony enter the fray and insist it was India’s legal right to try the marines so charges under Section 302(murder), 307(attempt to murder), 427(mischief causing damage), 34(common intention) of IPC and Article 3 of SUA Act were framed by Police backed it with by bullet evidence.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) looked to UPA political directions, and offered no legalities to the Attorney General. The SG in the case was asked to resign as he stated Italy had the Jurisdiction. Name of an AP in Sonia Gandhi’s office did the rounds.

Italy fought back to say the two Marines could not be tried under Indian CrPc criminal laws, as sentence to death was aired in the media. At last stage Chief Justice Kapadia ordered a Special Maritime Court of experts to adjudicate the case. This suited the MEA bureaucracy’s file work and no such court was ever formed and no one agreed who should it consist of.

NIA nominated could file the Charges as no law seemed right for it, and MEA drafted a retrospective Piracy Law which Parliament refused to pass.

Italy objected to every action India took in courts and waited four years for a final verdict. Only then could Italy go as an aggrieved party to one of the three International Court of Justice’s including ITLOS, which is the International Tribunal of the Law of the Seas, who gave interim orders allowing parole to the Marines on medical grounds. It’s all but over now as India is not filing any more protests and both Marines are safely in Italy.

In 2012 in the Supreme Court Barrister Salve argued Enrica Lexie was in International waters for Italy to try the Marines and India could represent its case there. He threatened India would lose in International Tribunal if it passed a verdict.

In 2014 IDF posted the same arguments favouring Italy after attending Supreme Court hearings and spoke at Italian Naval College at Turin and Dubai and at an international Maritime Law conference in Mumbai and explained Indian courts were unable to decide whose “Jurisdiction” . it was.

This case led to vast expenses and energies in Indian and Foreign legal fees, and there were changes of Indian government’s arguments and stances in court. Strangely no one realised that if the aggrieved party was not happy (ITALY) with the verdict the case would have gone back for final decision to the Supreme Court, as Italy took it as its core interest.

This to IDF’s mind this happened because the Navy with its legal JA and Chief Hydro division and Coast Guard with foreign trained legal experts who are hands on Maritime Law, and unpolitical have been sidelined, to proffer advice and MEA even suggested a new LAW ! A table of infirmities IDF presented are tabled. SHAN NO VARUNA
Event Effect and precedent
Seaman Guard Ohio crew held off TUTICORIN 2013 as they had arms on board legally but records were not proper. Crew
was tortured and jailed for years and trawler was ransacked Armories on board affected, Are they legal? Indian Firearms Act needs change. Poor Ex Army Jawans and Navy Sailors were mercenaries doing crew duty and by mistake MV SEAMAN GUARD entered Indian waters where BASE LINES had changed to take fuel as Sri Lanka had banned the ship as their PM had opened its own company. At Galle conference they told CNS Adm Nirmal Verma and NSA that SEAMAN GUARD OHIO was gun running !

Coast Guard tracked and arrested Ohio and deserves credit and washed hands off as intelligence agencies took over.
Financial of the small company badly affected. Sri Lanka rejoiced.
Comprtition Armoury is owned by ex-President relations media reported
Crew status uncertain saw few years in jails in South
Cost of crew has gone up on Guard ships but piracy reduced credi Navy but no laws.
Was that Privateering- banned 100 years back? India’s ancient belief.
Proves India’s conventional security with Navy and COAST GUARD is good but legal apparatus is not adequate
Gap still not filled by pvt security firms in India.
Rules yet to evolve

Is there a Gap in law here?

Enrica Lexie Were Armed guard responsible to be sentenced to death ?
Irrational behaviour can be questioned but were on Duty ! APSA
India Italy relations affected
Clever move by CG to bring in ship to harbor but back fired for India
Was guards response proportional?
Was it as per best stated practises?
Was piracy High Risk Area created with good rationale by Insurance companies
Was it beneficial to all to create larger HRA?

There a gap of law here and ENRICA LEXIE case showed it.


This is an IDF posting to emphasise the need to make the Government release the papers on, the ‘Higher Decision Making’ in the conduct of Op Pawan as 1200 Army lost their souls, most on foreign soil. They never knew or do we know today what it was for !

Such an eventuality for help cannot be ruled out in the future as India rises, and rightly a bright columnist/author Ved calls it India’s ‘Misadventure’ in Sri Lanka’(main excerpts linked below). More the reason the Services should demand a look at the official papers even if they are few, as IDF suspects. Ambassador Ronen Sen who was Joint secretary in PMO handling Sri Lanka then, in a public lecture said time is not ripe to release details. If so it can be done in camera by the Army, a duty to those brave and loyal Indians who gave their all, ‘Khali Pilli’ for Sri Lanka ? (Chapter preamble)


“Most Battles are won – or lost before they are engaged by men who take no part in them by their Strategist.” Carl Von Clausewitz-1832

The Indian Army Div went in hurriedly on orders by flamboyant and brilliant Gen K Sundarji (those boys will be sorted out in days) by IN ships, Indian Airlines and IAF planes. No one asked for the aim. Adm RH Tahiliani Chairman COSC was in Moscow. Yet the fine Indian soldier did his duty without demur. The Navy and the Air Force supported to the best of their ability. They attempted Coordinated Command and Control, which was absent. Navy was controlled from Eastern Command in Vizag (Vadm SC Chopra), Army by Southern Command Lt Gen Dipender Singh (OFC), and IAF flew tons of supplies, food, chickens an personnel. IPKF HQ Madras (Lt Gen Kalkat Brigs Ravi Ipe and Nikki Kapur) did its own thing.

Actual control was by Gen K Sundarji personally assisted by then DGMOs and MA Col S Mehta. IDF slept four nights a week in Army Ops Room to see the drama unfold thanks to DDGMO Brig YP Malik! Did India have a strategy? This was and is a moot question.

For India’s military foray into Sri Lanka in 1987, the strategy was left to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was also the Defence Minister, and military commander was Gen. K Sundarji ( Unlike 1971 for the foray into East Pakistan Gen Sam Maneskshaw as Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee guided joint strategy, Admiral R.H.Tahiliani in 1987 was made to watch (Sunder’s war his words), by PM from the side lines. The advisers were MEA with Sahadev ((JS), Messrs Natwar Singh, Romesh Bhandari, A P Venletaswaran, K P S Menon, and India’s high flying High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Mr.JN Dixit, assisted by Mr G Parthasarthy of the Planning division in New Delhi and PMO’s JS Ronen Sen. The Intelligence agencies, the RAW was headed by Mr Joshi and later Anand Verma and IB was under M K Narayanan and their many operatives. All had field days with their machinations, as villains of the piece having trained LTTE also. An IB operative fell to the charms of a PANAM hostess and was caught !

An analysis of the events leading to India’s actions in Sri Lanka is attempted in this chapter, to inquire if the aim of India was to obtain greater autonomy for Tamils, relieve the pressure on the Tamils, take on the LTTE or some other diffused aim, like maintaining the integrity of Sri LANKA, or prevent foreign interference, a bogey highlighted by Ambassador Mani. Mrs Gandhi in her time looked at the Sri Lankan Tamil problem quite differently from Rajiv Gandhi, not to get involved but planned.

India’s ‘misadventure’ in Sri Lanka

The Week caricatured the 1987 India-Sri Lanka Agreement in mythological terms: “Ravana need not kidnap Seeta to get Rama to invade Lanka — a mere pact is enough!”

For almost three decades, India has been accused of conducting a “misadventure” in Sri Lanka, sending thousands of soldiers for peace-keeping, where it got thrashed diplomatically, and at home, politically.

Worse — it had to leave the island nation with 1,138 soldiers killed and 2,762 wounded without getting close to resolving the ethnic strife between the majority Sinhalas and minority Tamils.

Worst — Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had signed the July 1987 peace deal with Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene (JRJ), was assassinated by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres in May 1991.
RAJIV’S killing, masterminded by LTTE chief Vellupillai Prabakaran, himself killed in a Sri Lankan military operation in 2009, had more than a symbolic impact. It ended the popular support Tamil militants had enjoyed in Tamil Nadu and remains confined to fringe groups.

The Gandhi-Jayawardane Agreement carried JRJ’s promise of the devolution of powers to the Tamil minority and recognition of Tamil as an official language. It envisaged military assistance that took the shape of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) for operations against LTTE in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

JRJ had got the better end of the bargain that he breached under pressure.

India felt cheated when his successor, Ranasinghe Premadasa, joined hands with LTTE to send IPKF out before they could complete their job.

The accord got sidelined. Political leaders opposing it assumed power in both countries around the same time. The Lankan Tamils, who had put their faith in it, were in limbo. LTTE strengthened to fight on till it was crushed in 2009. Reconciliation remains a mirage.

Documents declassified CIA confirm what is agreed. JRJ had told US president Ronald Reagan’s envoy Peter Galbraith that he was “forced” to sign the pact because his armed forces twice refused to “take Jaffna”.

“…IPKF and the Sri Lankan forces are getting on well together, and… the situation in Jaffna, while still far from normal, is gradually improving,” Galbraith said in his assessment sent to Reagan. Things changed later.

The documents indicate Americans promoted rapprochement between Rajiv and JRJ, persuading the latter who had been unhappy about Indians training LTTE cadres.

Did they help wily JRJ use a politically inexperienced Rajiv to pull his chestnuts out of fire?

In the evening of the cold war, many viewed India with suspicion after its role in the 1971 birth of Bangladesh. A brief intervention in the Maldives in 1988 strengthened these perceptions. Its navy was seen as nursing “blue water ambitions”.

Hardeep Singh Puri, who served in Colombo between 1984 and 1988, during the run-up to the accord and its implementation, blames both the international community and the United Nations for “looking the other way” at crucial moments during the crisis.

Taking an objective, Puri, however, stresses: “In retrospect, the mistreatment of the Tamils was, in the first instance, responsible for the outside intervention. A problem with linguistic rights transformed into one of minority rights and developed into militancy, inviting intervention from across the Palk Strait.”

Commodore (Rtd.) Ranjit Rai, Naval Intelligence director at the relevant time, says the botched operations would require in-depth study of the objectives and whether they were achieved, if it aimed to obtain greater autonomy for Lankan Tamils, to relieve pressure on them, or fight LTTE to maintain Sri Lanka’s integrity and to prevent foreign interference in India’s neighbourhood.

Like most analysts, Rai thinks Indira Gandhi, in her time, viewed the Tamils’ issue quite differently from Rajiv, and had avoided getting involved directly.

But, it is also true, as Puri points out; Rajiv inherited his mother’s legacy of Indians training LTTE. The difficult course correction Rajiv attempted went haywire.

Former foreign secretary and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, in his book Choices: Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy, terms that “choice” between “bad and less bad”.

As Stephen P. Cohen writes in his blurb to Menon’s book, critics may feel “anyone can do it, and can do it better than the government — but the reality is that India was never spoilt for choices”.

Puri stresses that, “Colombo itself ensures that the rights of the Tamil citizens are constitutionally guaranteed, and they are shown the respect and dignity all Sri Lankans get”.

For any Indian role in future, he warns: “Working at cross-purposes, as would appear to have been the case for several decades, will create problems for Sri Lanka and India.”


“Bad administration can destroy good policy, and good administration, in turn, can never save bad policy.”

Adlai Stevenson

“Rajiv had neither a vision of policy nor experience in administration . He was a very good person with handsome looks. He hailed from the Nehru Dynasty.”

To Rajiv Gandhi Ted Koppel of ABC Nightline on 13 Jun. 1985: “Forgive me, because this sounds like a rather indelicate question. But how does someone from five years ago having no role in politics [go on ] to suddenly become Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy ? A huge Jump ?

Rajiv Gandhi’s Reply : “Well, we have a fantastic thing called the democratic process”.

Bulshit, emotional Indians saw Rajiv on TV, fell for him. They voted in his favour and the Congress party grasped the advantage with both hands. Squabbling Congressmen found in him a perfect scapegoat for leadership. Zail Singh the President of India in his memoir confirms that he aided and abetted the quick anointing of Rajiv in preference to the other two aspirants, Pranab Mukherjee and Narasimha Rao, as a gesture of loyalty to the Nehru family.

Nations have suffered and will continue to suffer failure in progress through poor leadership at the helm of national affairs. In India’s case a sad event; Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s assassination on 31 October 1984 by her own body guards, in her own home (accidentally witnessed by Peter Usinov), led to the sudden ascendancy of her son Rajiv Gandhi to India’s top two political slots – the Prime Minister of India and the President of the powerful Congress Party. It is questionable in hindsight to judge if he was qualified for the task. His death anniversary on 21 May, celebrated as Quami Ekta Day since 1992 is always an occasion when the media reflects with honest analysis on his contribution, whilst leading the world’s largest democracy between 1984-89. It was the BOFORS scandal that turned out to be his Waterloo.

Rajiv Gandhi, a reluctant political starter was catapulted to Prime Ministership in one day from being a mere three- -year-old back-bencher in India’s Parliament. In groping for help in his new-found environment Rajiv took on Mani Shankar Aiyar, his classmate of early years, as a mentor in his office. Aiyar also subscribes to this view. And what were Rajiv’s qualifications? — He was India’s beloved first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s grandson, his mother Indira Gandhi had been India’s Prime Minister for almost two decades. In developed countries this may not have been enough, but in India, Rajiv’s lineage and associated credentials carried a seal of acceptance. Rajiv became a glorified choice to all sections of politicians scrambling for power. Therein lay a big trap for young and inexperienced Rajiv. He fell for it.

Rajiv was only 40 when his mother died. He had never run an organisation, an office or a home. He had resided in the comforts of his mother’s home whilst working as an Airline pilot. His reputation for adherence to rules, friendliness, correct etiquette and good demeanour was well vouched for by co-pilots, air hostesses and Indian Airlines staff but his abilities in 1984 as an administrator of 800 million people was questionable. He was totally devoid of any political or administrative education or experience, a compelling prerequisite for holding the reins of power. Yet he had a tremendous impact on the emotional Indians, by his stoic behaviour, during the rites of Mrs Indira Gandhi’s cremation ceremony. Some 400 million Indians witnessed the exemplary behaviour of this young son of India, on television, thanks to extensive media coverage that the tragic event garnered, and fell for him head over heels. The Congress immediately called for polls under the new young leader, Rajiv.

Under Rajiv’s nominal leadership as new head of the Congress party of India, the Congress in December 1984 went on to win the greatest mandate ever won in an Indian election. Rajiv surpassed his grandfather and mother in this achievement with ease. Credit for this victory was unwittingly given to Rajiv – India expected much from this young, handsome and charismatic leader. He was called India’s Kennedy. It is true he did achieve much in the first two years at the helm of this vast country, but lacking depth and experience, he failed to realise it was euphoria, circumstances and his bright and erudite advisers that helped him. Unknowing, he shed his close and able advisers one by one. He became embroiled in the BOFORS scandal and began taking decisions beyond his abilities. Those around him manipulated him for personal gains. He, as Prime Minister and Defence Minister with no knowledge of military matters or history, neglected Defence for over two years. He pushed the Indian Armed Forces into Sri Lanka without much preparation or thought in the summer of 1987. No wonder the remaining three years of his term, 1987-89, were full of intrigue, poor fiscal control, and haphazard policies in national and external relations. His misrule of those years followed by almost eighteen months under VP Singh and then Chandrasekhar led India to disaster. It was a time when five years went down the drain for India while the world economy was doing well and revolutionary events were shaking the world: The Berlin Wall came down and Soviet Union broke up.

In my research on Rajiv, I have relied on the many books, articles and speeches of his times. In particular I have relied much on “Rajiv Gandhi – The Years of Power” by Dr Kathleen Healy a Fullbright professor and researcher who spent nine years researching India and Rajiv. She published a book full of praise for him in 1989, when in fact India had steadily been going economically downhill under his stewardship since 1987. Internally, Punjab, Sri Lanka, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, the North Eastern States and Tamil Nadu were descending into civil strife while the Congress Party was mired in internal intrigues. Foreign Policy lay rudderless. The bureaucracy was entrenching itself deeper than ever. As India’s Defence Minister Rajiv allowed a fine Defence establishment to become a bureaucratic jungle through lack of direction and leadership. He had permitted General K Sundarji, to plan military exercises such as ‘Brasstacks’ and ‘Checkerboard’ on the borders of Pakistan and China with much aplomb – something that almost brought India and Pakistan to a real war! Squabbles in the Navy in 1990 for leadership to the top post and in the Services for many senior posts can be traced back to the deeds done during Rajiv’s era. The Indian ethos does not permit one to speak against Nehru or his kin, but that is the truth and Indians need not be ashamed of it, as we look ahead with some honesty. No wonder the biography of Nehru by Wolpert and his alluding to that great man’s personal sexual affiliations has angered Indians. As Khushwant Singh has put it, Indians can and love to criticise others but cannot tolerate those who criticise India or Indians.

Rajiv was born on 20 August 1944. He did not excel at school, The Doon School, India’s equivalent of Eton and Harrow. He was unable to complete his pursuit of a degree at either Trinity College, Cambridge or Imperial College, London, dropping out of both. He trained to fly aeroplanes at Delhi’s Flying Club and became an average pilot in Indian Airlines flying the Indian built Hawker Siddley 748 and later for a while, the Boeing 737 as a co-pilot. He left the airline on gaining command. His ambition was to live a healthy, disciplined life and one day he hoped to own a string of pubs. His wife Sonia nee Maino was not Indian, but an Italian from Turin – however, she quickly adapted to wear sarees and salwars and speak common Hindustani. Rajiv had met her at Cambridge. In time she became close to her mother-in-law and rumours abound about her family’s improved fortunes after her marriage through friendship with Italian named Ottavio Quattrachi, a Snamprogetti employee stationed in Delhi from 1979 to 1993. He now lives in Malaysia, evading Indian law as he is named in scandals including Bofors.

Rajiv did not have an entirely normal or happy childhood. He was born into the Nehru brahminic household. His firebrand father Feroze Gandhi was a Parsee who died in 1960 when Rajiv was only sixteen. Relations between Indira, who was busy acting as the social hostess to her Prime Minister father Jawahar Lal Nehru, and Feroze her husband were not good at the best of times as per Pupul Jayakar, a close confidant of Mrs Gandhi. Rajiv and his brother Sanjay spent time with their father swimming and building mechanical things, but separations between parents were long. It told on Mrs Indira Gandhi who was known to have become a cold and calculating woman. Sanjay and Rajiv were only half Parsees, not accepted into the Sun Temple. They were also only half Kashmiri Brahmins in an anglicised family – with tenuous roots to traditional Hindu ethos. Sanjay’s wife Maneka, the daughter of a Sikh Army officer, is also a non-Brahmin. Thus, the Nehru-Gandhi family were in a kind of cultural no-man’s land, grappling with the dilemma to be Indians.

It is well known that Indira doted on her second son Sanjay and was grooming him for political office. Sanjay was a power hungry impatient young man. Unfortunately he was killed in an air crash close to Delhi’s diplomatic enclave whilst piloting a Pitts aeroplane in June of 1980, just five months after Mrs. Gandhi was returned as Prime Minister. Maneka tried to assert her right to political heirship after her husband’s death but blood proved thicker than water. Mrs. Gandhi chose Rajiv. A major responsibility thus came to be thrust on Rajiv to help his mother, then aged 64, in politics. As Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s close friend and biographer Pupul Jayakar has related in her biography of Mrs. Gandhi, she was ruthless and she pushed Rajiv into politics after the death of her younger son Sanjay. Menaka had to leave the Gandhi household due to differences with her mother in law, and by 1981 Rajiv was cajoled into resigning from his job as a pilot in the Indian Airlines. He stood for elections to the Parliament from Amethi, his late brother’s constituency and won. He opened a small political office aided by friends, especially Arun Singh a semi-royalty and a Rhodes Scholar who resigned from Recitt and Coleman of India (makers of Dettol and Cherry Blossom Shoe polish) and joined politics to assist Rajiv. He remained loyal to Rajiv for six years and diligently steered all issues in the PM’s office till 1987, along with a few other colleagues, with exceptional skill. By then personal disagreements surfaced between their two families and also between the two of them on the BOFORS issue. It made these two good friends part company. One can even confirm that Arun Singh had helped select Rajiv’s first cabinet in December 1984 and he had a big say in policy formulation. Arun Singh’s cousin, Vishwajit Prithvijit Singh, speech-wrote for Rajiv, and won him applauds during a state visit to USA in 1985. Rajiv and Arun lived in adjacent houses with just a wicket gate separating them, and conferred regularly. In 1985 when the now infamous Bofors deal was coming to fruition, Rajiv took over the Defence portfolio from Narasimha Rao and assigned Arun Singh, then a young dapper 43, to be his Minister of State for Defence and de-facto Defence Minister of India. This bright young man did a fine job in the Defence Ministry but fell prey to the machinations of the three Chiefs of India’s Defence Forces, on many issues. He seemed unaware of the intricacies of the Bofors deal. Arun now lives as a recluse in the hills of Kumaun. His personal life is his own business, but I think that he owes future generations of Indians the duty to unravel the intrigues of the times when he was in the corridors of influence and power.


The world was rapidly changing during Rajiv’s period. Change, and how to cope with it, a subject now being taught even at Harvard, was the flavour of the times. The cold war was giving way to the gold war. The balance of power was giving way to balance of wealth. Eastern Europe was crumbling and the Berlin wall was coming down. Nehru a great philosopher and freedom fighter had a vision for India. Mrs Gandhi had cold blooded ideas that kept India afloat. Rajiv proclaimed he had a dream to usher India into the twenty first century. It turned out to be rhetoric, and all one saw was a heap of computers in his office while fixers like Quattrochi were busy executing deals in the fertiliser, oil and defence sectors. The backyard and economics of India were neglected. Rajiv was a fine human being as Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Foreign Service Officer has portrayed in his book ‘Remembering Rajiv’ – though his writings are also full of pyscophancy. Sychopancy psychopancy The acerbic Harvard Professor and politician from the South, Mr Subramaniam Swamy MP, has been unkind and dubbed Aiyar, Rajiv’s stenographer. Rajiv was an excellent speaker. He came off well on TV and in social repartee. Yet his lack of depth in matters of real politic and experience in politics and affairs of state merely made him deliver excellent speeches beautifully scripted by others. Indians called him Mr. Clean. This impressed many, and it went to his head.

Another pitfall during Rajiv’s time was India’s continued vehement pro USSR, Vietnam and Afghanistan policy, at a time when much economic prudence and support from the West was called for. This also soured India’s relations with neighbouring ASEAN. Rajiv did not have the depth to discern that the bureaucrats made him proclaim that India desired a non-aligned government, wanted no interference in Afghanistan and Kampuchea (standing by the Soviets) and yet India’s actions were all pro USSR in UN forums and international discussions. Diplomats burned midnight oil writing speeches on non-alignment, but were actually acting pro Soviet. Shortly after Rajiv’s election Russia offered 1.2 billion Roubles in Soviet aid. Trade with USSR which soured and dropped after 1992 had actually increased substantially in 1985 to some 6 billion dollars. Many unscrupulous businessmen and those close to Rajiv gained through the counter-trade route to the Soviet bloc, the cost of which caused large losses to the government via subsidies. Rajiv went globe-trotting to USA and USSR proclaiming a disarmament policy for the world, drafted by Mr. Natwar Singh, his Foreign Minister. In his own backyard an Indo-Pak arms race was let loose. On economic policy he supported liberalisation for a bit but his efforts to change the licence-raj controlled by the administration was superficial. His understanding of economics was shallow. He prevented his economic adviser Dr. Manmohan Singh, from delivering the Adam Smith lecture. Actually he scarcely listened to his advice at all. No wonder many in power and scions in business praised him outwardly, but doled out favours from positions of power or eked favours when in business. Levels of mismanagement in the public sector, especially in the aviation sector, including Air India, Vayudoot, Pawan Hans and Indian Airlines, the very corporations and subject he had some knowledge of, reached alarming levels. His own young upstart nominees were promoted to head aviation corporations, aided and abetted by his former colleague and pilot, Satish Sharma who also turned to politics and become a close confidant of Rajiv. Rajiv’s and Satish Sharma’s wives were both foreigners and good friends. Cronies became advisers. It was a period of promise but turned out to become one of parody.

It would be appropriate to quote from an article ‘Return of the Faithful’ referring to people like R K Dhawan, in India Today dated 15 March 1989 to sum up the times “Following his (Dhawan) dismissal by Rajiv Gandhi a few hours after he was sworn in as PM, Dhawan became a political leper. Dhawan’s comeback signals Rajiv Gandhi’s return to his mother’s style of functioning. Dhawan’s return is a last ditch effort by Rajiv to try and pull his image out of a slump”. It continues “The initial buffers, or shock absorbers as they were called who replaced Dhawan were Arun Singh and Arun Nehru. In the short term in concert with VP Singh, Arjun Singh and parliamentary Secretaries like Ahmed Patel they were able to give the party and bureaucracy collective guidance and shield Rajiv from the direct heat of controversies”. Unquote.

Rajiv’s untimely death under tragic circumstances on 21st May 1991 that haunts his sycophant friend Mani Shankar Aiyar, quite by accident, ushered a new leader in India, Narasimha Rao. Even with a minority in the Parliament he offered hope to the country through the support he gave Dr Manmohan Singh’s economic policies. He pulled India out of bankruptcy through enlightened economic leadership. He wished to realign non-alignment. He wished to put India on a path to development, and offered leadership, If his other ministers especially in Defence, Foreign Affairs and Human Resource Development had been as bold, with the ability to roll back India’s antiquated policies, India would have blossomed, but Narasimha Rao permitted unbridled corruption. This was his nemesis.

In economic terms the years from 1984 to 1989, when Rajiv was the Prime Minister, were disastrous. The Controller and Auditor General of India has in his report indicated that financial prudence was given a go-by after 1985 when foreign debt of India totalled Rs. 45,961 crores (15.50 Billion dollars). The debit shot up to Rs. 1,21,179 cores (40 billion dollars) in 90-91, an increase of 150%. Foreign debt increased from 19.8% to 25% of GNP. What is alarming is that the cost of servicing the massive debt in terms of foreign exchange reserves which was 40.8% at the end of 1985-86 increased to 99.5 % in 1989-90 and 135.4% in 1990-91. Any leader worth his weight would have rung alarm bells, but it would appear that the leadership was following haphazard policies unaware of its economically disastrous consequences, which eventually came to roost in 1991. India was left with only one billion dollars in reserves, and a massive debt.

In conclusion it is proved that a good man does not a good leader make. Only educated, experienced, knowledgeable and capable people can lead. If they are good men too, it is better. But in this chapter, the historian must ask of Rajiv Gandhi; was he Enfant Terrible or the Statesman of Stature as we are led to believe, because that is the way of India, never speak ill of the Nehru family. Historians will have to answer this question, not me.

“Indira Gandhi’s successor was completely bereft of a conceptual understanding of complex emerging realities, left the Congress shorn of all ideological awareness.”

Chandan Mitra 1997– on Rajiv as Congress President.


MOD’s premier make shift National Aero show, once again held at hastily prepared IAF’s Bangalore Yelahanka training base and its planes in hangars’ vacated from 14th Feb. The MOD led IAF organised world competing show lacked detail and finesse, that by now MOD should have acquired via money spinning DEFEXPOs and AEROs.

This then is take aways and an IDF Analysis on changing dynamic internal and external defence spending and production sector data in the East and India and is tabled vis a vis India’s defence budget $ 40 bill from Aero India-2017 from 14th Feb.

Organisers were seen occupied with Ministers and Brass arriving and going. The runway repairs were in progress, and first day flying display had to be curtailed as it overshot time schedules by over an hour. Private airlines schedules, kept changing. But India’s Aero show will always attract as India is a ‘big aviation buyer’, and the only place servicemen freely mingle with foreigners and businessmen for net working.

MOD basks in the knowledge that no PSU, or no big Indian or Foreign supplier, or the world’s Defence media which thrives on advertisements, and silent Agents called consultants, or aficionados like ex Air Marshals and IDF type hobby aviation watchers, or foreign delegations who gather intelligence will miss the show. PSUs can be press ganged to attend.

Notably, China sent six PLA(AF) officers among more than 30 delegations. Women at the show accounted for 30% who also manned stalls, ran short of the over used under flushed toilets, and TOI published a scathing edit by a journalist. Parking lot defied heeled walkers, but Bon Hommie in Chalets and watching air displays from UK and Scandinavia and jet fighters was not lacking.

The only big event was the Air Chief ACM BS Dhanoa taking over the key of the first of 3 Embraer-145 AEW planes, dubbed Netra. No deals were announced though the S400- Air Defence for $ 1.5 bill was talked about and has been reported.


An analysis of the defence sectors is essential as a preamble to recall India still remains the No 1/2 largest importer competing with Saudi Arabia and is a, “ seller’s – buyer darling nation” with media touting India will order $ 250 bill defence equipment in next ten years ! FM and Eco Adviser talkative Subramanium assure India will grow at 8% which is good news for the Armed Forces. It will help compete which China which is increasingly able to substitute arms imports with indigenous products. India remains dependent on ammunition, weapons and technology from willing suppliers from USA, Russia, Israel, EU and South Korea. India have a ”Kutti” with South Africa.

There are tensions with territorial disputes and hotting up in the resource-rich South and East China Sea (SCS) with USN, JSDF and PLA (N) Fleets entering the China claimed waters. IDF feels China will blink and bide its time to react, with Trade War? India has unsettled borders with nuclear armed China and Pakistan.

India exudes ambitions to keep China in check, and PM Modi has wowed to get POK where China is constructing CPEC projects and looks to solve the India China border favorably and provide net security in IOR with aviation assets and aircraft carriers.PM Modi , has a Strategic Vision with USA in SCS. That is the Indian Chiefs’ big plate as they await a CDS with biting nails to provide joint fire power !

The need for new fighter aircraft, air defence systems and naval aviation in Asia-Pacific region and India is buoyant. Indian Air Chiefs have stated that Indian Air Force needs 400 new fighters of single and twin engines. The Navy targets 400 aviation platforms from current 215 by 2027. All three services and Para Forces need over 400 helicopters and UAVs to replace Cheetaks.

Obsolescence and shortage of planes, helicopters and submarines and weapons and even ammunition that was recently imported for $ 1 bill to reduce shortages are the main drivers, for increased regional defence spending in the East and Middle East despite economic uncertainties in the West. USA under Trump is expected to retreat some of its US assets from the region. Nations are spending more on security.

Imports by countries in South East Asia increased by 6.2 per cent from 2007–11 to 2012–16. Viet Nam made a large jump from being the 29th largest importer in 2007–11 to the 10th largest in 2012–16, with arms imports increasing by 200 per cent. There are no regional arms control instruments or groupings in place, so states in Asia continue to expand their arsenals.

At Aero IDF met friends, servicemen and small and agile cost conscious private defence companies called SMSEs and big companies, PSU’s and 200 foreign exhibitors.

A snap list of Indian private suppliers include L&T, TCS, WIPRO, MKU, HH, Elcome Marine, BrahMos, Alpha Design which has simulators night vision equipment and tie ups with Elbit and Elta, Adani with Elbit for Hermes UAV, Accord for GNSS solutions, Axicades, and innumerable 100 small aviation suppliers to HAL, ADA an ADE, while Reliance hopes to supply Dasault parts and compressor makers. Ananya has supplied aviation products and supplies to WESEE and 2000 modems for Navy’s Link 2 to BEL, Nucon Aerospace, Flash Forge, SEC Industries, Restoflex, AXISCADES, HBL, Walchandnagar, Forbes Marshall, Lucid and TCS and so many others. (See Trident Blogspot)

These Indian companies silently displayed supplies of full assemblies, parts and services to Defence Public Sector Companies (PSUs), DRDO, Shipyards and Navy’s Arihant ATV programme in severe competition. They also came to Exhibitions despite high costs in the hope foreign companies will import from them, while PSUs add overheads hidden in total costs as Ministry of Defence Production cannot be questioned. These small SMSEs can grow if supported.

IDF learnt Armed Forces are obliged to pay PSUs quoted prices with no competition or negotiation in the majority of nominated orders. IAF is stuck with Hindustan Aircraft Ltd (HAL) and Army with OFB, DRDO and Bharat Dynamics, while Navy makes PSU shipyards compete and private shipyards have been supplying small ships and yard craft to the Navy and Coast Guard, except when orders are directly given to PSUs.

Nuclear submarines the most complicated expensive naval vessels.Iin earlier posting IDF has explained its genesis and how it they are being built with Larsen &Toubro Ltd in a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

MOD-Navy has now contracted Nova Integrated Systems (NISL), a subsidiary of Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), for the Navy’s surface surveillance radar (SSR) project, marking the third big procurement by MoD after L&T and BrahMos under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). It nears ‘another strategic partnership’ by tweaking 1923 secrecy rules in National interest, despite PSU noises in radars case by BEL. Few know MDL had acquired land and sea front at Mangalore to build nuclear Arihant, but Navy and BARC thankfully opposed the move. It became a oil rig repair yard.

The proven cheaper Terma Danish X band radar now with SAAB, is based on the latest solid state navigational technology and suited for the 48 operating, plus 36 sanctioned coastal systems (see Pic) , which India is also setting up in IOR nations. Contract also involves installation and commissioning warships, delivery of simulators, establishing depot level facilities, and integrated logistics support with deliveries spread over 10 years. Navy believes in long term contracts like JV BrahMos does; not L1 every year.

TASL is a strategic initiative of the Tata group in the aerospace and defence sector after Nova partnership with Israel IAI was objected by PSUs and DRDO for Barak-8. TASL offers customised technical solutions to Indian and international OEMs and system integrators.

Jens Maaløe, president and CEO, Terma A/S said, “We see this contract between MoD, Government of India and Nova Integrated Systems as a very important milestone for Terma as we strongly support the ‘Make in India’ initiative”.
Facilities at TASL’s combat management systems (CMS) development center, will also be utilised for the project which involves integration of the radar with a variety of weapon and sensor systems on different class of vessels of the Navy’s assets, which SAAB has offered. In the future naval systems working with bright navy constructors and WESEE engineers looks to brighter prospects for the Navy’s 46 ships on order in India.

Ex younger Navy personnel are also desired and fully employed in industry. Hence IAF and Army must seek ways to take risks with orders on industry and support industry, like they support PSUs for competition. This is essential for India’s national interests, economy and efficiency and is IDF’s message. Shan No Varuna. Vande Materam.