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LIVE Q&A session with SHIV AROOR!

Discussion in 'The Officers Mess' started by Levina, Jun 3, 2017.

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  1. Levina

    Levina Colonel on stilettos SENIOR MEMBER

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    Greetings everyone!

    We welcome @SHIV AROOR to the forum! :)
    He's here among us to have a live question and answer session with you all. Welcome to the forum sir!
    Shiv, as we know, is Editor (Output) at India Today; he is a defence and military enthusiast, and has reported on national security for over a decade . He also runs a two time award winning defence site called LiveFist and has just finished his first novel,OPERATION JINNAH, a work of fiction depicting an Indo-Pak border incident.
    Not many here know that he has also reported from warzones like Libya and other war torn middle eastern countries, and has witnessed war unlike many armchair warriors on the social media.
    Shiv has been kind enough to answer few queries by our members in advance, and is keen to take more questions from you all during the course of this live Q&A session.


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    Q by @Nilgiri : What in your opinion is the best way to reform the Indian defence bureaucracy so greater spending % of total allocated resource can be achieved?

    Shiv Aroor:
    A proposed 'rolling' defence fund has been on for over a decade now that preclude the percentage use phenomenon that hamstrings defence finances. That. and a more fine-tuned DPP would be indispensable. The bureaucracy itself can only be as efficient as the government leadership allows it to be. There's a perceptible change in how the MoD functions now, compared to how it did in the last decade.


    Q by @SrNair : Indian defence sector is struggling to make a credible Military Industrial Complex in India.Govt is doing their best to nurture a good defence industry in India .But we cant see much difference on ground. Recent one was Tonbo imaging systems and MKU .Both were successful in winning export orders from foreign nations .But their contribution in India is much less. Why cant we build up a good MIC at lest like that of China or Israel?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Hopefully afoot! The government's 'Strategic Partnership' policy has divided industry and the bureaucracy, but it remains the single most aggressive move to empower large private industry and commit them to high-scale defence production for indigenous use. From fighters to helos to armoured vehicles and submarines, private sector involvement is set to be unprecedented, contingent of course on successful, smooth roll-out of the policy. For SMEs, including companies like MKU etc, there will necessarily need to be scaled down 'mini Strategic Partnership' regime that ropes companies in to build smaller scale equipment like infantry weapons, ammunition (both medium & heavy calibre) and electronics.


    Q by @Bloom 17 From a decade from now do you see Indian armed forces proactively getting involved in world conflicts (ie. like NATO forces abroad or sending advisors to train foreign forces like Russia and the US) or just remain a defensive force and a last option for the civilian government in it diplomacy.


    Shiv Aroor:
    India remains the principal global provider of UN peacekeepers worldwide. I don't see that evolving into anything else -- certainly not 'pro-active' involvement in 'world conflicts'. Our UN peacekeeping commitments, remember, run alongside the huge demands on our armed forces within the country itself.


    Q by @Gessler : Shiv, I wish to know your take on the Indian Army small arms procurement plans. I understand we're making a serious jump toward 7.62x51mm for the regular infantry from the current 5.56x45mm, in the future the Army's assault rifles, LMGs and semi-auto designated marksman rifles will be using this ammo. What brought on the call for this huge logistical shift? And exactly how are the Rashtriya Rifles/other Counter-Insurgency forces expected to develop over the next 5 to 10 years?

    Shiv Aroor:
    The one thing that's certain is that infantry weapons will see an overhaul in the next three years. The logistical shift in ammunition is part of a major break away from older weapons as well as ammunition manufacture and supplies. Fresh ammunition tenders will create a clean slate for existing supply chains. And they'll all be under Make in India.


    Q by Gessler : Do you believe the supposed requirement for Single-Engine Multi-Role Fighters (Gripen & F-16 competing) is something that cannot be done away with and replaced with procurement of additional Rafales/Tejas Mk-2s?

    Shiv Aroor:
    At least in intent, the single-engine fighter programme isn't really only about procuring the fighters, but building a fighter industrial base. Lessons from the doomed MMRCA contest have definitely fed into the IAF deciding on a more manageable single-engine programme (though there could be a twin-engine programme later). The current state of play throws up a pretty unnerving inventory scenario. However, with the MiG-21s to be phased out regularly, you'll have a type off the table. The IAF's wisdom is getting two new single engine types won't be an inventory nightmare. The Tejas Mk2 remember is still fighting to stay alive -- I strongly believe that any foreign production in India needs to feed directly into the Tejas program, with commitments for larger numbers of both the Mk1A as well as committed support/orders for the Mk2. The Rafale is a complex case. There's a reason India was only able to commit to 36 jets! More on the IAF's brutal rejig of its purchase priorities here.


    Q by Gessler The Aircraft Carrier programs. Do you suppose we will be proceeding to build the possibly nuclear-powered IAC-2/Vishaal after being done with the IAC-1/Vikrant? Considering the fact that most of the technologies supporting the IAC-2 (nuclear propulsion, catapult launch system whether EMALS or Steam, air wing etc.) are either not ready or not yet in the desired state, do you think construction of a second ship of the Vikrant-class (using the same STOBAR setup with General Electric gas-turbine engines) is a possibility? How does IN feel regarding its carriers future?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Nuclear-powered unlikely on the Vishal. Perhaps for platforms beyond. At this point the big question really is if the Vishal-class will feature an EMALS or ski-jump.


    Q by Gessler Is writer's block a serious thing? Especially when you write something of this magnitude, you are bound to have run into something regarding the setting, equipment or anything else which was fine the first time around, but when you read it again it seemed pretty over-the- top, especially in the Indian context - and you dont know how else to spin the story so you stop there. I know this much to be true because as an aspiring writer myself, I've had this problem more than once. How do you work around such an issue....where you're not sure if you're just trying to make everything seem as realistic & believable as possible, or engaging in serious self-doubt


    Shiv Aroor:
    Writer's block is definitely real. I wrote Operation Jinnah with no time off from my full-time TV news job, so I had to write in furious bursts late at night or early in the morning. Sometimes, I'd write on my phone during outstation assignments.

    Q by @Fox : Do you see international mediators as a way forwards in ending the conflict over Kashmir? Or do you believe India's &quotno outside help& approach is the best way forwards in maintaining a viable hold on the territory?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Do remember that few of those conflicts have ended in any real way -- certainly not in the way Norway would have wanted. I don't believe mediation is acceptable in Kashmir. India is capable of meeting objectives it sets out for itself in Kashmir. However, I have a cynical view on what holds India back from a solution to the Kashmir issue.


    Q by @Blackjay :We recently read reports about mciws having cleared all trials and soon to be inducted.Is this a small scale induction?Or is mciws going to become our standard infantry rifle like originally intended?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Likely to be begin as a small-scale induction. There are active tenders out for large numbers of assault rifles for the infantry. The Special Forces & RR units are continuing to procure the IMI Tavor TAR-21, which they're very happy with.


    Q by Blackjay :One last question,if saffran is able to modify,test and certify Kaveri before next AeroIndia as they promised.Given Kaveri's thrust output where in your opinion will it be used namely mk1a,mk2 ,nlca ,aura?OR do you think we will have to modify it further before any actual use?


    Shiv Aroor:
    I'd love to see the Kaveri modified satisfactorily for any use, frankly. It's too important a project to be allowed to die. If the Snecma tech really gives it new life in such a small time-frame, the applications could be huge, theoretically for all of the platforms you name, and possible more.


    Q by @MilSpec : Why was the Bhim SPH and the Arjun Catapult Scuttled?


    Shiv Aroor:
    Bhim, because of the Denel scandal, I imagine. The Arjun Catapult was a hastily conceived project that was aggravated by inadequate long-term planning by the Arty on the kinds of self-propelled units it wants, the range at which it needs them to be potent and the ammunition in use. Great deal of churn in India's artillery now -- we've got the new M777 program finally on, big private firms L&T and Kalyani creating huge capacity for gun building, and the DRDO/OFB will be churning out the Dhanush & ATAGS once they're set. This is historic in many ways, but crucial that the system doesn't allow the sudden glut of systems and interest to hijack efficient planning.


    Q by Milspec: Why did the IAF do a 360 degree flip on the HTT 40 after explicitly asking HAL not to develop it in the favor of the PC7


    Shiv Aroor:
    People say foreign arms companies have a lot of influence. They forget the sort of institutional influence HAL has always enjoyed ;-)


    Q by Milspec: What is the origin of the engine on the Nirbhay?

    A. Currently a Russian engine, but soon the in-development Manik small turbofan.

    Q by @ripudaman : In your opinion, how much, if at all, is the Indian military complex infiltrated by external intelligence agencies (think pancha-netra)?

    Shiv Aroor:
    In terms of industrial espionage? Not difficult to believe that spies may have infiltrated parts of our system, no? :)


    Q by @Abingdonboy :Given the emerging nature of the threat profile nations, including India, face why exactly is the GoI/MoD still reluctant to sanction the tri-service Cyber, Special Ops and Space commands? Why does India have to constantly be playing catch up, most major nations have already established such commands.

    Shiv Aroor:
    Good question! The principle reason is the inability of the three armed forces to agree on primacy in functional commands. You're right -- theatre commands are a thing of the past and ought to be done away with. A personal example: I broke the story about talk of a 'Space Command' as a junior journalist over a decade ago. Last week, in conversations with the IAF top brass it emerged that the proposed 'Aerospace Command' is still on file because, to put it simply, the forces can't get themselves on board with the IAF being the protagonist in such a structure. This needs a political push. The armed forces have proven they can't agree on functional commands. Harsh, but true.

    Q by Abingdonboy: What are your feelings on the situation with the current MoD leadership- is Jaitley here to stay as DM or will a permenant DM be appointed at some point?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Permanent defence minister soon. Jaitley won't be permanent.


    Q by Abingdonboy: In addition to the above, do you have any insight into whether the rumours are true that defence policy is being run primarily out of the NSA and PMO?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Defence policy ALWAYS runs out of the PMO, my friend. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. One can argue about what PMOs in the past have been guided by, but make no mistake what guides MoD/Defence policy. :)

    Q by @sunstersun : What do you think the IAF backup plan should be if the FGFA falls out?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Recently met with the IAF leadership. Can reveal that while things are moving forward on the FGFA, and while a committee that was ordered to re-study the program and assess its benefit to India has submitted its recommendations, the IAF has been making contingency plans -- the collapse of the FGFA won't be the end of the world for the IAF. What it means diplomatically and financially (India has already paid major sums, remember) is different.

    Q by @defc0n : According to you, how worried should Indian Airforce be with its current status in terms of the number of operative squadrons, keeping Pakistan and China in mind?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Given that sanctioned squadron strength is a calibrated figure keeping in view the possibility of aerial operations in two theatres, dwindling numbers is always a cause for worry.


    Q by DefcOn :What is your take on India ';No first use policy' when it comes to using Nukes? Is it really worth it to allow an adversary to take out a city of ours if it can be stopped with a pre-emptive strike?


    Shiv Aroor:
    Complex issue, but personally believe India is a credible enough country to rescind its NFU policy. It serves a larger strategic messaging goal, sure. But I don't believe India needs to shore up strategic credibility, especially when compared with the agencies its nukes are pointed at.


    Q by DefcOn : From a strategic aspect, what according to you will be the strongest deterrence against China from India's point of view (given they threaten India routinely)?


    Shiv Aroor:
    Trade & economics.


    Q by DefcOn : Make in India - for our defence equipment. Is Indian industry ready for the challenge?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Most definitely. There's potential here that's waiting to be discovered. Would be a shame if the government and private sector cannot find a successful template to build on the Make In India/SP campaigns and policies.

    Q by @bharathp Is there a way to crowdsource at least one or two SME or MSME manufacturing units for our defense needs? what would be the best course of action (which particular product,
    whom to approach for certifications etc) for this initiative?. in more detail: the USA has DARPA and the likes to show case innovative ideas from even novice engineers, this throws open the doors of millions of dollars of investment/profit to anyone who has interest and inkling to solve defense related problems. How can I help in this process in India?

    Shiv Aroor:
    The consortium approach could be part of the 'mini Strategic Partnership' model, I hear. In India, the DRDO has made very small steps towards harnessing innovation from the IITs and other academic institutions. Needs to be vastly bigger and more institutionalised. Foreign firms have smelt opportunity on campuses already and are funding projects at the IITs. The DRDO needs to create a framework very quickly.


    Q by @Wolfpack :When small Balkan nations like Bulgaria,Romania could build their own APC's and Kalashnikovs,why is India simply not copying those designs or offer the ex-soviet scientists with a good pay package and make them in India. Even till now we are not able to copy and mass produce our own artillery like Bofors forget bofors,we are not able to produce a all weather Assault rifle,Insas was the last,it had problems.China on the other hand went from copying blueprints,weapon systems to now innovating new weapon systems which are state of the art.Why is India reluctant to copy or reverse engineer systems,is it the fear of Western nations not dealing with India again in future or not offering technology, or is it due to the kickbacks involved some middlemen want to always buy a weapon system off the shelf and want India to be a perpetual spare parts importer from West? instead of trying to reverse engineer and build it ourselves.

    Shiv Aroor:
    Like most things, the answer is a combination of many things: corruption, technical incompetence or inadequacy, faulty planning, competing interests, bureaucracy, lack of political will.


    Q by Wolfpack : There is a lot of yes and no's against Arjun tank,LCA Tejas, ultimatelyArmy rejected Arjun tank, .Same with Tejas,why the constant need for up gradation demand from Air force,why not take a batch of tejas as it is,you cant ask Tejas to be a F-35 simply because you wanted the best,(We started small with ISRO to reach the present stage,same should be the case of our Military Industrial complex,if we have one?). Once the assembly line gets rolling,there can be many modifications and newer versions created.Does India always want to keep buying from other countries,while rejecting its own homegrown products,if that was the case,then why fund such projects and waste time and money,just to fool public?


    Shiv Aroor:
    Agree in principle. However, a correction: both the Arjun and LCA Tejas are now in service, with hopefully greater numbers to be commissioned ahead. The Arjun Mk.II is in danger of doom for a variety of reasons. Again, the answer is a combination of some of the things listed in the previous answer.


    Q by Wolfpack : DEWs(Directed Energy Weapons) we had some old news regarding this topic,What is the latest update of DEW and its research ? !


    Shiv Aroor:
    The DRDO is testing a few low-power technologies at Hyderabad as we speak. This would be the anti-UAV laser weapon. More advanced tech in the works.


    Q by @Sancho : What's the status of the Brahmos Mini development?


    Shiv Aroor:
    Design configuration to be frozen this year. Priority right now on the BrahMos-A -- a first firing from a Su-30MKI is around the corner.


    Q by Sancho :Would you consider a live or recorded debate on Indian defence matters with some of your fellow defence journalists (Vishnu Som, Nitin Gokhale, Anantha Krishnan...) from time to time?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Certainly. Will be shortly launching a video conversation series on Livefist. Stay tuned!

    Q by @AKD What is the status of DRDO AWACS.Do you thinnk CABS have the capability to build a radar as powerful as Phalcon AWACS.what setback we suffered from the Avro crash?

    Shiv Aroor:
    The radar being developed by CABS is expected to be as powerful, if not more, than the PHALCON AWACS sensor. At any rate, that's the intention. Airbus has been roped in to supply the A330 platform for the DRDO AWACS. Still very early days. Don't see any kind of integration activity before the next decade.

    Q by AKD What is the status of AURA ucav?

    Shiv Aroor:
    Now called the Ghatak, I recently reported in detail on the very latest in the project.

    Q by @zebra7 How can you design a product without the requirement? e.g How can you work on the design on the IAC-2 when you don't have the plane specification, which will be operated OR how can you design the AMCA without the ASQR of the IAF or the IN. And have you asked this questions from the officials.

    Shiv Aroor:
    Terrific question. And in many ways indicative/symptomatic of the corners we've painted ourselves into as a result of indecisiveness in the past. It's a question I ask quite regularly, actually. The IAC-2 is currently no more than the shadow of a hull. Everything that'll make it a warfighting ship remains inconclusive. And each of those decisions are not just technical, but also strategic/diplomatic. Remember EMALS is part of the Indo-US DTTI cooperation. Getting India to commit to a launch mechanism is a priority for many sections for obvious reasons. As far as AMCA is concerned, there may not be a specific ASQR, but don't be fooled -- the IAF is very much involved in shaping the program.


    Q by Zebra7 Why IAF have the 3 stage course from Basic, intermediate and Advance trainer course?

    Shiv Aroor:
    IAF training has almost shifted to a two-stage regimen now. Basic and intermediate on the PC-7s and advanced on the Hawk. Intermediate training on a separate platform is set to be jettisoned from curriculum.


    Q by Zebra7 : From where did the IAF came up with the idea and then demands that should be incorporated in LCA Tejas such as 14 minute turn out time, Frameless canopy, hot refuelling,
    internal DRFM, Operating Cost etc -- Is it from the brouchers of the other's OEM or they do some research on such technologies, and do they believe such claims could be fulfilled in the Indian conditions and could be available in one platform.


    Shiv Aroor:
    Brochure-baazi is a common preoccupation in the forces. Less now than before, but it still exists, yes.


    Q by Zebra7 : Why didn't IAF is giving its helos to the Armed force Aviation wings, and why LCH have been configured for the IAF specific only.

    Shiv Aroor:
    It's a bitter and ongoing battle. The Army wants all battlefield assets under it, including surveillance and attack helicopters on the lines of the US Army. The IAF doesn't want a 'mini air force' to be created. Classic case of competing interests, egos and insecurities in command and control, when it should really just be about efficiency, potency and economics.


    Q by Zebra7 Your Choise Saab Gripen E or F-16 block 70 ?


    Shiv Aroor:
    No choice just yet, but I recently got them to dogfight on Livefist :)


    ******************************************************************

    The question and answer session will continue on this thread...
     
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  2. Levina

    Levina Colonel on stilettos SENIOR MEMBER

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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
  3. nair

    nair Die hard Romeo IDF NewBie

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  4. SHIV AROOR

    SHIV AROOR Livefist MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Hello all! Happy to be here. Wanted to answer a question I missed from @Lion of Rajputana :

    I know you have covered multiple conflicts as a reporter, and that you also did plenty of research for this book; in the course of this work, what were your most memorable/interesting experiences? Also, what gave you the idea to write Operation Jinnah (both in terms of writing a novel overall, and this specific premise)?

    My answer: The most memorable part about writing the book were two things: 1., Listening to personal stories by the Special Forces. Many were kind enough to allow me into their world and gave me amazing stories about the things they have to undergo during training etc (Detailed a bit more here: https://www.scoopwhoop.com/ever-won...r-special-forces-go-through-an-inside-account)

    The other memorable part was getting hundreds of serving officers to read advance copies of the book to get their feedback. We sent copies to units on the border, LoC, Kashmir Valley, Visakhapatnam, Mumbai and elsewhere. The feedback was overwhelming and humbling.
     
  5. SHIV AROOR

    SHIV AROOR Livefist MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Thank you! My privilege.
     
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  6. nair

    nair Die hard Romeo IDF NewBie

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    Question: What is your view on CPEC???? And how the geopolitical is going to shape in Baluchistan.... We have US, Russia, China, India, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan tangled in a conflict
     
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  7. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    welcome to IDF Shiv
     
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  8. nair

    nair Die hard Romeo IDF NewBie

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    @SHIV AROOR You may have to refresh the page to get the latest update, if not you can keep a track in shoutbox
     
  9. kaykay

    kaykay 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Sir, So far there's nothing on acquisition of Black Shark torpedoes for our Scorpenes of which first will be operational soon. Do you see it coming? or are we looking for some other alternative?
     
  10. Grevion

    Grevion Professional Think Troll IDF NewBie

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    Welcome to the forum Shiv!
     
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  11. SHIV AROOR

    SHIV AROOR Livefist MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    India continues to fret about the CPEC, but there are complexities even from China. They'd like to see India on board. It will change things dramatically. Remember what the CPEC means in the endgame: ACCESS to the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and IOR. Currently, India has expressed solidarity with Balochistan's interests, but I imagine there will be an evolution in our understanding and approach to the CPEC going forward. Dramatically.
     
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  12. DrSomnath999

    DrSomnath999 Major RESEARCHER

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    Hello shiv and welcome to IDF
    you didnt answer my question regarding Iaf rafale 14 indian specification and how they gonna happen?
     
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  13. SHIV AROOR

    SHIV AROOR Livefist MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    The Black Shark deal is virtually dead. Alternatives ahead likely.
     
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  14. Butter Chicken

    Butter Chicken Captain FULL MEMBER

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    What is your opinion on the SP model unveiled last month by Mr. Jailtey?What are the issues and deficiencies with this model according to you?
     
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  15. nair

    nair Die hard Romeo IDF NewBie

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    What is your view on the current LOC hostilities? How different is it from previous instances?? Do you see a chance of a limited war (or skirmish) and what would be the outcome or objective IA expect from it?
     
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