Pre­par­ing and Equip­ping for War

The In­dian Army’s cur­rent chal­lenge is to find the ap­pro­pri­ate bal­ance be­tween the old meth­ods of con­duct­ing war and the new ways. There is no op­tion but to re­struc­ture our or­gan­i­sa­tions, our force lev­els, in­tro­duce new tech­nolo­gies and doc­trines, and mor


RE­CENT ME­DIA RE­PORTS HAVE in­di­cated that the In­dian Army is se­ri­ously short of weapons and ord­nance. The re­ports also have high­lights that de­lays in de­ci­sions on key mil­i­tary mat­ters and pro­cure­ments have blunted the op­er­a­tional edge of the armed forces. This has been high­lighted in a let­ter writ­ten by the Army Chief Gen­eral V.K. Singh to the Prime Min­is­ter Dr Man­mo­han Singh. Un­for­tu­nately, this let­ter was leaked to the me­dia and thus the fo­cus got shifted from the alarm­ing de­fi­cien­cies in var­i­ous types of mu­ni­tions, and lack of cer­tain ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ob­so­les­cence of weapons to the as­pect of leak­age of clas­si­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tions and the need to in­ves­ti­gate this se­ri­ous is­sue.

Op­er­a­tional Voids

The Army Chief ’s let­ter os­ten­si­bly high­lights de­lay in set­ting up the na­tional counter-in­sur­gency school, short­fall of qual­ity am­mu­ni­tion and ord­nance, lack of po­tent cy­ber war­fare units, fail­ure to mod­ernise T-72 bat­tle tanks, de­lay in upgra­da­tion of Ar­jun main bat­tle tanks, lack of mod­erni­sa­tion in ar­tillery and air de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties and de­lay in pro­cure­ment of in­fantry weapons and re­con­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance he­li­copters.

The lat­est me­dia re­ports in­di­cate that the Par­lia­men­tary Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on De­fence has crit­i­cised the gov­ern­ment for al­low­ing the sit­u­a­tion to reach such ‘crit­i­cal­ity’. It has ad­mit­ted the se­ri­ous short­age of am­mu­ni­tion and has also pointed out the gaps in ex­ist­ing force lev­els as well as the tardy pro­cure­ment process. The com­mit­tee has rec­om­mended an in­sti­tu­tional di­a­logue and meet­ings be­tween its mem­bers and all the three ser­vice chiefs for a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of In­dia’s de­fence pre­pared­ness.

Threats and Chal­lenges

The armed forces of any na­tion in the world must have stocks of am­mu­ni­tion and weapons to fight a war of cer­tain du­ra­tion based on the type of threats and chal­lenges as­sessed by its armed forces and the in­tel­li­gence agen­cies. It is in this back­drop that the de­fi­cien­cies or lack of ca­pa­bil­i­ties have to be mea­sured. From the me­dia re­ports it seems that the gov­ern­ment has asked the armed forces to be pre­pared to fight on two fronts si­mul­ta­ne­ously. While this may not in­volve all out State to State wars due to “nu­cle­ari­sa­tion” of the re­gion, even lim­ited con­ven­tional con­flicts will de­mand an over­all ca­pa­bil­ity of be­ing able to sus­tain a war of high/medium in­ten­sity for a few weeks

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