Getting wings

Indian Armed forces are passing through an important phase in their endeavor to achieve modernization commensurate with their rising role and the rising international profile of the country. As the world's fourth largest military and as an important instrument of state power, the armed forces remain central to India's attempt to seek a rightful place in the international order as both a regional and an economic power. Year 2011 was important as the most ambitious Medium Multi Role Aircraft bid was opened and French Rafale and the Eurofighter, were finalized for the last bid.

The year of 'correction'

The Ministry of Defence found itself in the first-of-its- kind case to clear the cloud over the age of its Army Chief General V.K.Singh. General Singh had reported anomaly in his date of birth as recorded at the time of recruitment and insisted it to be 'corrected'. Army also saw its three senior-most officers, Military Secretary, Director General (Supply and Transport), and a Corp Commander getting court martialled, in connection with the Sukhna land scam.

No officer on duty

The army grapples with shortage of more than 1, 500 officers which is having a cascading affect on the operational aspects. Units are reportedly working with less number of officers than what they are assigned.

Naval might

The Indian Navy ended the year with President's Fleet Review, on December 19, where it showcased the might and it's strength as a Blue Water force. While the Navy is awaits its most ambitious acquisitions, INS Vikramamditya, Gorshkov, and its nuclear submarine to be leased from Russia. Now, we have only one aircraft carrier, INS Viraat. Indian Naval crew began training in Russia in April aboard the new Aircraft Carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Navy's most modern combat aircraft MiG 29 K showed its prowess to their supreme commander during the fleet review.

Going strong

The Indian Air Force saw lots of refurbishing with the modernized AN 32 getting back into service. It has re-activated and renovated many Advanced landing Grounds along the borders keeping China in mind. Induction of C-130J-30 Super Hercules Tactical Aircraft will further strengthen its capabilities. The successful test launch of the 3,500 km range Agni-IV Ballistic Missile on Nov 15, came as a fillip to the missile arsenal of the country. The testing of Agni-V missile with a range of 5,000 km that can carry was also announced. The test of this missile, which will boost the nuclear capabilities of the country, is likely to take place in February 2012.

New Testing grounds

The year was important as the plan of 'theatrisation' was put to test. It was validated in one of the largest army exercises in recent times-'Sudarshan Shakti'. As per the plan, a live feed of the war zone was put to use and the decisions were taken at the integrated command and control centre. The basic concept was to shift from a threat specific approach to a capability based approach. It was also an attempt to reduce the time of deployment and to minimize the administrative hurdles at various commands that affect the deployment and to ensure the optimal use of resources.

Clearing the haze

Defence land scams-Sukhna, Agra, Allahabad, and Kashmir-dogged the MoD through out the year. The ministry ordered a reality check on all defence land deals to be undertaken by the Directorate General of Defence Estates. In order to clear the haze, a CD containing database on all defence land records was formally released by the Defence Minister on July 13.
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