Defence ministry reveals details
Defence ministry has revealed details and progress about OROP, Embraer deal and Scorpene documents leak. In Picture: The Indian Defence Ministry (L) and Home Ministry buildings are illuminated during the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi.Reuters

The government has shared details about Pakistani ceasefire violations, blacklisting policy, one rank, one pension (OROP), import of defence materials and more.

Tensions with Pakistan are at all-time high following the Uri attack by Pakistan-based terrorists in which 19 Indian soldiers martyred. Following the heavy Indian retaliation after an Indian soldier was beheaded last week; Pakistani Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) made an unscheduled hotline interaction with the Indian counterpart on November 23. Since then, there has been relative calm across the Line of Control (LoC).

The government informed parliament on November 29 that Pakistan has committed 216 ceasefire violations along the LoC and international border in the past one year (November 25, 2015, to November 26, 2016).

The information was provided by Subhash Bhamre, minister of state for defence, while replying to a question asked by members of Parliament.

The government also revealed that 214 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the international border were committed on posts that were in control of the BSF in the past one year (November 11, 2015, to November 11, 2016).

Eight Indian soldiers martyred and 74 were injured in these ceasefire violations. In 2016, about 111 houses or structures were damaged due to the incessant shelling from the other side. It was also revealed that there was not a permanent dislocation of people residing close to the international border or LoC. But following the Indian Army's surgical strikes, 27,449 people were evacuated from villages in Jammu division.

The government also informed Parliament that the armed forces have been asked to "retaliate appropriately" for such violations. Further such violations are taken up with relevant Pakistani authorities using the established channels at the borders.

In order to minimise the damage on the civilian population living in these border areas, the government has put a mechanism where villagers are informed in a swift manner about the occurrence of cross-border firing. Further, the government has placed bullet-proof bunkers for people to take shelter. Ambulances are kept ready for any emergency.

OROP, ex-Soldier's Suicide and Implementation

The government noted that since June 14, 2015, the United Front Movement of Ex-Servicemen association has been protesting, as they seek implementation of OROP.

The government said it has already accepted the demands over OROP implementation, some of the association members have been seeking changes in the "methodology for fixation of pension, the periodicity of its revision, coverage of future PMR cases, etc."

To address their concern, the government appointed a Judicial Committee to look into the anomalies that might arise from the implementation of OROP on December 14, 2015. The Committee submitted its report in October.

On the issue of suicide by an ex-Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal on November 1 on the issue of OROP, the inquiry by the government revealed that he was drawing a pension of Rs 22,608 per month and he was entitled to a revised pension of Rs 25,634 per month under the OROP. On November 8, his account was credited Rs 53,978, which is the arrears for around 18 months.

The government clarified that no member of the United Front Movement of Ex-Servicemen had died. This meant that late ex-Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal was not a member of the organisation.

The government further revealed the status of the payment made following the implementation of OROP as of November 22.

  • No. of cases paid (1st instalment and lump sum payments) – 1,957,925
  • Amount disbursed - Rs 3,984.76 crore
  • No. of cases paid 2nd instalment – 1,541,316
  • Amount disbursed - Rs 2,267.71 crore

Purchasing of Defence Equipment

The government announced that in the last two years and the current year, it has signed 135 contracts, valued at Rs 1,91,018.78 crore with Indian and foreign vendors to acquire UAVs, ships, missiles, frigates, rockets, simulators, aircraft, helicopters, radars and rifles.

The government clarified that equipment requirements are conducted in a planned and progressive manner where there is a detailed process that will include "15 year Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), a five-year Service-wise Capability Acquisition Plan and a two year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plan. The capital procurement of defence equipment is carried out as per the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)."

Import of Defence Materials

Speaking about the Make in India initiative and its indigenisation efforts, the government said in its efforts to reduce imports of defence materials, it has introduced several policy initiatives namely, "liberalization of FDI policy and industrial licensing policy, simplification of export procedures, creating level playing field for Indian private and public sector companies, streamlining of offset implementation process, providing preference to Buy Indian, Buy and Make Indian categories of Capital Acquisition over Buy Global category in Defence Procurement Procedure to make the country self-reliant in defence production."

It has revealed the amount spent on defence imports in the last two financial years:

  • Rs 32,498.97 crore in the financial year 2014-15
  • Rs 30,173.09 crore in the financial year 2015-16

Death in Siachen Glacier

The government clarified that soldiers in Siachen Glacier, known as the world's highest battlefield, are deployed for a tenure from three to five months, which is, in turn, based on "the complexity of the deployment location, sensitivity of the post and adverse effect on the health of the individual."

It also noted that since operation Meghdoot in 1984, Indian armed forces have lost 35 officers. 

Policy on Blacklisting Defence Firms

The government revealed that the defence ministry has issued guidelines for penalties in business dealings with entities, which has been effective from November 21. These guidelines lay down "policy for levy of financial penalties and/or suspension/banning of business dealings with entities, seeking to enter into contract with/having entered into a contract for the procurement of goods and services by the ministry of defence."

It also noted that six companies or entities have been put on hold in the last three years. However, the government permitted restricted procurement from "two other firms" if they were justified and are made "necessary on the basis of operational urgency, national security and non-availability of other alternatives."

Embraer Deal

Clarifying its position on the Embraer aircraft scam, the government said that based on its inquiry, Embraer has admitted to have "entered into an agreement with an 'agency'," which proves media reports on alleged involvement of agents to be true. It also revealed that a sum of $5.76 million was paid to the agency.

The DRDO purchased three modified aircraft Embraer of Brazil to develop indigenous Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) System. The ministry said the information has been submitted to the CBI for investigation

DRDO's Protein Food for Soldiers 

Soldiers posted in remote and isolated parts of the country get various nutritious and protein-rich foods through DRDO-developed food products. These include:

  • Protein-rich bars
  • Energy-rich bars
  • Protein-rich instant Halwa-mix,
  • Upma-mix
  • Protein-rich Chapattis

Scorpene Submarine Data Leak

The committee that was constituted by the defence ministry following the leak of documents relating to the Scorpene class submarines has submitted its report. The report is currently under examination.