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India eyes Brazil for military hardware, and more
At New Delhi on December 1, visiting Brazilian Defense Minister Jose Veiges Filho and his Indian counterpart George Fernandes signed a defense agreement that will explore the possibilities of cooperating in air-surveillance systems, as well as in exploring co-production and co-development of aircraft, warship building and sub-systems such as software avionics and ordnance, according to Indian Defence News.

The defense agreement was signed during the two-day visit to India by the Brazilian defense minister. A few days earlier, India had finalized the purchase of six executive jets from the Brazilian aviation company Embraer, worth more than US$600 million. Analysts point out that the India-Brazil defense agreement has the potential to go far beyond the purchase of the Embraer jets, and that India's real interest is in procuring the air-surveillance system used in Brazil's SIVAM project. SIVAM, which stands for "System for Vigilance over the Amazon", is a $1.4 billion system that has been designed to provide surveillance of Brazil's immense and relatively underdeveloped Amazon rainforest region.

The objective of the SIVAM project, which was conceived in the 1990s but then ran into funding problems, in addition to its usefulness in the anti-drug war, was to monitor and curb a number of actions detrimental to the environment, specifically in the Amazon region, such as illegal deforestation. As a result, some observers noted, the SIVAM project was supported by environmentalists in agreement with industry executives that the surveillance system could be used for the direct and overt protection of environmental concerns.

The Indian interest in the SIVAM is centered around providing real time information on the illegal cross-border militant infiltration that takes place along the Line of Control in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been a thorny issue between India and Pakistan for more than five decades.

Fernandes, accompanied by the Indian army deputy chief of staff, was in Brazil on a six-day official visit earlier in the year. During that visit, Fernandes learned of the SIVAM project. He also visited the Embraer facilities in Sao Jose de Campos and military establishments in Rio de Janeiro.

On July 25, 2002, Brazil's then president Henrique Cardoso inaugurated the SIVAM's initial operating ability, developed by Embraer and another Brazilian firm, ATECH, in cooperation with the US corporation Raytheon. Raytheon-supplied sensors - including synthetic aperture radars, multispectral scanners, optical infrared sensors, high frequency direction finding equipment and communications and non-communications exploitation gear - have been installed onto three remote sensing aircraft, modified versions of the Embraer ERJ-145. SIVAM's air traffic controls (ATC) and associated airspace surveillance provide Brazil, for the first time, with a comprehensive monitoring capability throughout the region. The system will contain 14 state-of-the-art Raytheon fixed base air traffic control radars and six transportable radars, supplemented by five existing government-furnished ATC radars.

These ground-based radars are augmented by five newly developed SIVAM airborne radars, also adapted ERJ-145s, outfitted with Raytheon and Swedish sensors. Collectively these radars provide an area-wide monitoring capability permitting vastly enhanced counter-smuggling, border surveillance and law enforcement operations over an area the size of the United States west of the Mississippi.

Besides the SIVAM project, which has definitely interested New Delhi, India is keen to develop its own airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system and install it on the Russia-supplied IL-76 frame. This is where Brazil surely can step in and help. The top AEW&C players in the US include Northrop Grumman, the Boeing Company and the Raytheon Company. Several other nations, such as Brazil, Israel, France, Britain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia and China, however, have developed their own products and have begun to compete in what has heretofore been a US monopoly in the AEW&C market.

AEW&C systems consist essentially of an aircraft platform and ground-control units. The aircraft is equipped with powerful radar housed in "top hats", rotodomes or nose-mounted radome suites used for long-range surveillance. The airplanes tend to be commercial frames that are customized for military use. Operators on board the aircraft control the radar and can direct warplanes in the theater through voice and data links, while they coordinate activities with the command and control (C2), and ground units.

AEW&C systems currently competing in the international market include Northrop Grumman's multi-role electronically scanned array (MESA), mounted on a Boeing 737-700 jet. Israel Aircraft Industries' ELTA Phalcon package can be modified and carried by aircraft ranging from a 707 to the Illyushin-76. Brazil's Embrarer employs the EMB-145 business jet to take Sweden's Ericsson ERIEYE electronics package aloft. India has good reason to show interest in the ERIEYE, a joint development effort by the Swedish Ericsson and the Brazilian Embrarer.

Nonetheless, it would be unwise to consider the SIVAM project as the only reason why these two large nations are getting together in the security-related area. Cardoso visited India in 1996, and this was returned by former Indian president K R Narayanan in 1998.

It is, however, the initiative of Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who came to assume his post in October, 1999, and the emergence of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as the president of Brazil last year, that provided the momentum for the recent developments. In his inaugural speech, Lula cited India as one of the priorities of Brazilian foreign policy. Vajpayee and Lula met at Lausanne, Switzerland, on June 2 this year.

In July 2001, India's minister of petroleum, Ram Naik, visited Brazil with the purpose of gathering data on the Brazilian experience of mixing ethanol to gasoline (PROALCOOL). Increasingly dependent on foreign oil, while simultaneously emerging as one of the largest sugar producers in the world, India has a natural interest in the production of ethanol.

A bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the matter was signed between India and Brazil in April 2002. This document recognized Brazilian expertise in manufacturing ethanol, and called for joint research on bio-diesel. A mission from Brazil representing the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce and entrepreneurs from different sectors involved in the PROALCOOL, including the automotive sector, visited India in 2002. In April 2002, the India-Brazil Commercial Council was launched, and the two countries signed a MoU on technology-sharing and undertaking joint studies on blending ethanol with petrol and diesel.

The new council was launched at a gathering of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and visiting Brazilian Minister of Development Industry and Commerce, Sergio Silva do Amaral, who led a 33-member official-***-business delegation to New Delhi.

On information technology, the two countries have also begun to collaborate. India, being one of the leaders in this area, provided the necessary momentum. Pramod Mahajan, Indian Minister for Information Technology, Communications and Parliamentary Affairs, visited Brazil in 2001. Subsequently, a working group was set up to develop a cooperation program on e-banking, e-governance and electronic certification systems training, among other areas. The working group has already met twice, both in Brazil and India.

In February 2002, India's then-Minister of Science and Technology, Murli Manohar Joshi, visited Brazil, and his visit was reciprocated by his Brazilian counterpart, Ronaldo Sardenberg, in October 2002. A managing committee and a high-level scientific council were designated to recommend ways and means of implementing bilateral cooperation. In October 2002, the president of the Brazilian Council for the Development of Science and Technology headed a mission on biotechnology to India, and the two sides subsequently signed an agreement which will generate joint research in areas such as medicine, agriculture and bio-informatics.

But of all the trips, perhaps the most significant one was the visit to Brazil by Indian External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha in June, at the invitation of Brazil's counterpart. The presence of businessmen in the delegation of Minister Yashwant Sinha made it evident to the Brazilians that the Indian government has moved away from supporting only its public sector enterprises and is now providing help and support to private-sector initiatives. During Sinha's visit, India and Brazil affirmed the unanimity in their views on most of the world's leading issues.

Both took note of the fact that while Brazil-India relations have vast economic and strategic potential, the momentum has only begun to pick up in recent days. Bilateral trade, which turned over an average $200 million annually in the mid-1990s, stood at $488.7 million in 2000, and had grown almost 70 percent one year later, totaling $828.1 million. In 2002, Brazil exported $653.6 million to India and imported $573 million, totaling $1,227 million. In addition to the increase in the volume of trade, greater diversification has occurred over the years in the items exchanged between both countries.

Also during Sinha's visit, on June 6, a historic trilateral Brazil, South Africa and India meeting took place in Brasilia to announce the formation of a new economic grouping, the G-3. South Africa's foreign minister had traveled to Brazil for the special meeting, which was taken note of all around the world because it took place soon after the G-8 meeting at Evian, France, where the heads of state of these three countries had discussed the global situation.

The Brasilia Declaration that followed put special emphasis on respecting the rule of international law, strengthening the United Nations and the Security Council and prioritizing the exercise of diplomacy as a means to maintain international peace and security. The three also agreed on the need to reform the United Nations, in particular the Security Council. They stressed the necessity of expanding the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent member categories, with the participation of developing countries in both categories.

Subsequently, Brazil supported the induction of India as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. There was also unanimity between the three in identifying terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, drugs and drug-related crimes, transnational organized crime, illegal weapons traffic, threats to public health, in particular HIV/AIDS, natural disasters, and the maritime transit of toxic chemicals and radioactive waste as major security threats to the peace of all nations.

At the same time, the coordination between India and Brazil in multilateral economic fora has become ever more important for both countries, as became evident in the IV Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Doha in 2002. On that occasion, Brasilia notes that India's support of the Brazilian proposal was instrumental in the approval of the Declaration on Intellectual Property and Public Health.

Comparable technology bases
The optimization of India-Brazil cooperation will, however, depend on how well they can move jointly in three areas: space, nuclear power for commercial use and the aviation industry and its sub-systems. These are all strategic areas and the related technologies are jealously guarded by the developed nations. They also involve large capital investments.

But Brazil and India must move in these three areas, along with South Africa, because the G-3 can only make a real impact on behalf of the developing nations as a whole when they optimize their vast skill, manpower and potential to "free" these areas from the developed nations' oligopoly. There is little doubt that if these three nations put their right foot forward with adequate will and commitment, help may come in from some of the G-8 nations. It is almost a certainty that China would help.

India and Brazil can break the technological oligopoly of the developed nations because both have developed indigenously a huge array of technologies in these areas, and have developed as good a quality of skilled and specialized manpower as any developed nation can claim.

Both India and Brazil have well-advanced space programs. The Indian Space Research Organization, which is now celebrating its 40th anniversary, is in the process of planning for an un-manned moon mission in 2007. India has mastered rocket launching step-by-step, from the rocket that went up 200 feet in 1963 to the one that now puts indigenously-developed Indian INSAT groups of satellites into geo-stationary orbit. No one at this point in time doubts India's capability to send rockets to the moon, either.

The Brazilian program is younger, but has shown vigor. The Brazilian Complete Space Mission, intending to develop the whole cycle of space technology, was approved in 1979, with an initial goal of design, development, launching and operation of four small-size, low-orbit data collecting satellite (SCDs) and remote sensing satellites (SSRs), including the ground facilities and a laboratory for integration and testing; design, development and construction of a satellite launching vehicle (VLS); and design and implementation of a launch center at Alcantara (CLA). The program was later expanded, and its past and future programmed launches are: SCD1 (1993), SCD2 (1996), SCD2A (1997), SCD3 (1998), SSR1 (1998).

Brazil was an early member of Intelsat. Embratel used Intelsat capacity not only for international connection, but also leased capacity that was used by the Brazilian long distance operator, Telebras, for connection to remote regional centers.

Brazil's rocket program is centered on the VLS, a four-stage rocket comprised of a core and four strap-on motors. The first, or booster stage, has four solid fuel motors strapped to the center second-stage core motor. The VLS is designed to deploy 100 to 380 kilogram satellites into 200 to 1,200 kilometer equatorial circular orbits, or to deploy 75 to 275 kilogram payloads into 200 to 1,000 kilometer polar circular orbits. Configured as a missile, the VLS could fly 3,600 kilometers with a 500 kilogram payload. Brazil's rocket programs reportedly use Russian carbon fiber technology for the rocket motor cases. The press has reported, for example, the sale of test benches for liquid-fueled rocket motors developed with the assistance of Russian scientists, and instruction by Russian scientists in the use of liquid propellants.

In January 1996, Cardoso signed a bilateral accord with India on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, which included clauses on technological and scientific information exchange. With neither country being a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the prospect of their utilizing nuclear power for non-violent means raised a red flag in the face of the nuclear-weapons states and many skeptical observers around the world. The proposed bilateral nuclear cooperation did not go anywhere.

Brazil, constantly under the thumb of international financial institutions, could hardly move. India, on the other hand, has developed a complete independent nuclear fuel cycle. It is now in the process of developing power reactors fueled by thorium and building a prototype 500 MW fast breeder reactor. In addition, Indian scientists and engineers are in the process of scaling-up their own 230 MW Candu natural uranium reactors into 500 MW reactors. It must be said that India, a non-signatory of the NPT and Missile Test Control Regime, has succeeded in preserving both its nuclear and missile programs, and progressing in both.

Brazil, which reportedly possesses the largest untapped quantities of thorium worldwide, suspended experimentation and research with the substance over 10 years ago. It is worth noting that shortly after Cardoso had given a call for increased bilateral trade between the two countries and his support for permanent Indian membership on the UN Security Council in 1997, in Bonn, Germany, the non-governmental organization Capoib lodged a formal protest against an EU Amazon project.

Capoib, the umbrella organization for groups supporting the effort to preserve the homelands of indigenous peoples of the Amazon, protested Brazilian government reforms concerning the demarcation of native lands in the region. It was obviously a pressure tactic. Brazil may consider countering this obvious move with some pressure of its own in the area of nuclear power for commercial use.

In addition to the three areas mentioned above, two other strategic areas exist where these two countries should cooperate. In Brazilian exporters' view, one of the most promising sectors is agribusiness, particularly the soybean complex, sugar and meats segments. According to one exporter, despite the investments that have been made and the measures taken to increase soybean crushing and refining domestically, India has still been increasing its soybean oil imports from Brazil. "In 1997, we sold a mere $23 million of the product; last year, Brazilian soybean oil exports surpassed $401 million," one Brazilian farm expert said.

The second strategic area is the crucial pharmaceuticals sector, controlled by a handful of "big fish" in the developed world. Indian pharmaceutical laboratories, which are big exporters of generic medication around the globe, are in the process of forming joint ventures or installing factories to operate in Brazil. The pioneers in this area were the Reddy Laboratory and Ranbaxy (producer of Lamivudina, a generic medicine used in the anti-AIDS cocktail), which launched joint ventures in Sao Paulo in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Aurobindo, Strides Arcolab, Zeus (Core Health Care/Claris Lifesciences) and Torrent followed suit after an official visit by Brazilian Minister of Health Jose Serra to India in July 2000. Various other Indian laboratories are also scouting the country to form associations or install representation.

Clearly, there is more to the India-Brazil relationship than military hardware.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 3:48 PM


India's Second Strike Facility - Andaman and Nicobar Islands
India will send more troops and equipment to its bases on the eastern Indian Ocean islands of Andaman and Nicobar, a step intended to bolster defenses against China, an Indian Defence Ministry official said.

Strike jets and aerial refuelers will be based there, and about 100 long-, medium- and short-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be sent to help keep watch on the Chinese base in Myanmar’s Coco islands, the official said Dec. 4.

India has Army, Navy and Air Force troops on the 572-island chain, which lies less than 100 kilometers from the Indonesian coast. A joint command was established there in 2001 as part of a $2 billion plan to boost India’s ability to rapidly deploy troops in the region.

In November, command planners asked ministry officials for about $388 million to buy 70 foreign-made UAVs and $66 million for 30 Lakshaya aircraft, built by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., Bangalore, the official said. The ministry’s finance department is adding the request to its budget plans.

Requests for proposals are slated for issue to foreign firms within two months. All deliveries are to be complete in two years, the official said.

India also will base 18 nuclear-capable multirole Sukhoi Su-30MKI and Mirage 2000 aircraft on the islands, far outside the range of current Pakistani nuclear missiles. It also purchased six Il-78 aerial refuelers from Uzbekistan in June for an undisclosed amount to enable the fighters to fly long-range missions from the island bases, the official said.

India also will send amphibious ships, Mi-17 combat and transport helicopters, An-32 transport planes and maritime reconnaissance aircraft, another Defence Ministry official said Dec. 7. In all, about 100,000 troops will be stationed there by early 2007, he said.

“The deployment of UAVs for monitoring Coco islands clearly spells out the basic aim of the tri-command, which is not targeted at the southeast Asian region,” Mahindra Singh, a retired Army major general and New Delhi-based independent defense analyst, said Dec. 7.

An Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman declined to comment on the development, but said that India and China are improving their friendly ties, especially in the wake of the June visit of Indian Prime Minster Atal Behari Vajpayee to China.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 3:44 PM


India To Pay RSK MiG $140M for Gorshkov Aircraft
India and the producers of MiG aircraft, Russian Aircraft-building Corporation MiG (RSK MiG), have agreed on the price India will pay for 16 MiG-29K aircraft that will outfit the Admiral Gorshkov, the retired Russian aircraft carrier that India has been negotiating to acquire.

An Indian Navy official told that the Indian Defence Ministry and RSK MiG on Jan. 8 signed a memorandum of understanding for India to buy the MiG-29Ks for $140 million, around $6.6 million per aircraft. The Indian Navy official said the $140 million would include integration of additional equipment and training for the Indian pilots.

Indian Defence Ministry officials confirmed Dec. 4 that New Delhi and Moscow, after three years of negotiations, had agreed that India will pay $666.6 million for the retired aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to be refitted by SevMash Enterprise, Severodvinsk, Russia. Russia in 2000 offered the ship to India free of cost provided India paid for its refitting in Russia and bought Russian aircraft. Talks on the carrier deal began 10 years ago.

With agreements on the MiG-29Ks and the refit price of the Admiral Gorshkov, the deal for India to acquire the aircraft carrier likely will be inked during the Jan. 20 visit of the Russian defense minister to India, a senior Indian Defence Ministry official said Jan.8.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 5:03 PM


Mig 29K....Are They The Right Choice
New Delhi announced it finally has struck a deal with Russia over the price for refitting the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, but the two countries continue to disagree on the price of MiG-29K aircraft that will arm the carrier.

“RSK MiG of Russia has quoted a price of around $35 million per piece of MiG-29K, whereas the Indian Defence Ministry has calculated the reasonable price to be around $28 million,” a ministry official said Dec. 2.

The same official disclosed that New Delhi has decided to concede to Russian Aircraft-building Corporation MiG (RSK MiG) by offering to buy 46 MiG-29K aircraft in place of its initial order of 16.

“The purpose of the extension in the order for the MiG-29K to the Russians is to help them reduce the cost, as the developmental cost of the aircraft constitutes a large portion of the price,” the Defence Ministry official said.

New Carrier for New Delhi

Indian Defence Ministry officials confirmed Dec. 4 that New Delhi and Moscow, after three years of negotiations, had agreed that India will pay $666.6 million for the retired aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to be refitted by SevMash Enterprise, Severodvinsk, Russia. Russia in 2000 offered the ship to India free of cost provided India paid for its refitting in Russia. Talks on the carrier dealbegan 10 years ago.

The ship will enter service with the Indian Navy in four or five years, service chief Adm. Madhavendra Singh said.

The Indian government in April selected Russia’s MiG-29K naval aircraft, manufactured by RSK MiG, for the Admiral Gorshkov, rejecting the Rafale-M offered by Dassault Aviation, Vaucresson, France. Though the Navy wanted to buy the Rafale-M, it was rejected because it requires a ski-jump launch system, one Indian Navy official said, while the MiG-29K uses a catapult mechanism like that on the Gorshkov.

The Navy earlier decided not to buy another Russian competitor,the larger Sukhoi Su-33, because fewer of the planes would fit on the Gorshkov’s deck.

Paper Airplanes

If the Navy acquires the MiG-29K, it will become the first operator of the aircraft, which is a prototype.

However, the Navy official agreed with other service officials who said Dec. 2 that Russia would not be able to meet the supply schedule for the MiG-29K, which currently exists only on the drawing board.

The Navy official noted that, since the plane has not been built yet, even the October 2000 acquisition agreement between India and Russia included a rider to the effect that the purchase of the plane would be “subject to satisfactory negotiations.”

A diplomat at the Russian Embassy here, however, expressed optimism that the deal would be finalized, noting that price negotiations are routine and that Russia in the past has reduced prices in the second round of bidding.

And the Indian Defence Ministry official said, “We have asked the Russians to make a revised bid for the MiG-29K aircraft.”

RSK MiG’s representative here, Mikhail Globenko, said Dec. 2 that a formal memorandum of understanding on the MiG-29K’s final price will be signed soon, but he did not give details.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 3:50 PM


Indian Fleet To Add Two Aircraft Carriers by 2010, Navy Chief Says
The conclusion of a long-awaited deal for India’s acquisition of a retired Russian aircraft carrier means that the Indian Navy, due to decommission its only existing carrier in a couple of years, will add two to its fleet by 2010, the service’s chief said Dec. 6.

The details of the Navy’s acquisition of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov were concluded last week, with both New Delhi and Moscow agreeing to the price tag of $666.6 million, Indian Navy chief Adm. Madhvendra Singh said. Negotiations for the ship, which will be refitted in Russia, had dragged on for three years due to differences over the price and other terms. The final deal will be signed during an upcoming, but not yet scheduled, visit here by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.

Singh told that the warship, armed with a squadron of MiG-29K aircraft, will be ready for induction in four to five years.

The Admiral Gorshkov will increase the Navy’s force multiplier capabilities multifold, and the service will be able to challenge its potential rivals more effectively, Singh said. The ship’s weapons package includes superior missile systems more capable than any Asian navy today, he added.

Singh also disclosed that by 2010, India’s indigenously built aircraft carrier, known as the Air Defence Ship, will be in service, carrying another squadron of MiG-29K aircraft. The Navy’s MiG-29K fleet will provide the service with a strike-fighting edge and enhanced intercepting capabilities.

The government’s defense acquisition council also has approved the 10-year shipbuilding plan, under which the Navy will order 30 warships from domestic and foreign shipyards, Singh said.

He noted the Navy today faces the daunting task of providing security for 2.1 million square kilometers of sea around India’s coasts, including 1,157 islands under Indian control.

With the beginning of a ceasefire at the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir, Singh predicted India now will face insurgency threats from the sea.

Singh said the Navy’s goal in holding joint exercises with foreign navies this year is to gain experience in curbing activities such as terrorism, transportation of weapons of mass destruction through Indian Ocean shipping lanes, and trafficking of weapons, humans and drugs. In the past year, he said, the Navy conducted joint exercises with 13 foreign navies, including those of the United States, Russia, France and Singapore.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 3:45 PM


The global defense industry is constantly shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, terrorists are tracked and caught, and global security maintained. We aim to track news, policy, military exercises and strategic affairs between the world's largest democracies - India and the United States.

Given the vast interest and passion we have in this field, we decided to launch this blog to give visitors the ability to track these developments, exchange ideas and link to other sources of Information. Our primary sources and links can be found on the main page. Some of the pieces published herein our ours, otherwise it is reproduced from other sources (news, think-tanks or publications) to provide our readers the ability to interact and respond. The link to the original source can always be found under the article. Articles and op-ed pieces written by us include thoughts and opinions that are ours, not those of any government or political party. Last but not least, this blog is not-for-profit, nor is it financially supported by any corporation, entity or organization. It is purely to be used for informational purposes and not commercial and/or profit motives.

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This blog focuses on current issues concerning defense and national security for the world's largest democracy - India. It is updated regularly providing readers with in-depth information on technology transfer, acquisitions, counter-terrorism, security and military collaboration and strategic dialogue between India and the United States. The site includes links to top defense policy & research institutes, think-tanks, military sites and research organizations.
Cooperative Cope Thunder
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