The year 2016 has been an eventful year for the Army, especially on the line of control (LoC) on the India-Pakistan border and both the government and the army must have learnt many lessons from these events/incidents, we hope. The border incidents have propelled the government and the army to adopt new tactics and techniques to confront the terrorists who are launched from across the LoC from time to time and neutralise them.
Since 1989 Pakistan has waged an unrelenting asymmetric war on India which we call “Proxy War”. This is in keeping with their strategy of “bleeding India with a thousand cuts” adopted since the past three decades or so. Currently their targets are mostly security forces personnel (Indian Army, J&K Police and Central Armed Police Forces deployed in J&K). By so doing their intention is to keep the Indian Army engaged on the borders to wear them down physically and mentally, and if possible demoralise them, which is an important overall aim both for Pakistan and for China and hence the latter is supporting Pakistan in many ways. Pakistan considers these jihadi tanzims as their strategic assets to be used suitably both in peace and in war. This suits China too who are opening up a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Gwadar Port via the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for which large amounts of funds are being invested by China to the tune of $46 billion.
The Indian Army deployed along the LoC has a well coordinated counter terror grid to while other security forces have been managing the insurgency in the hinterland within Kashmir which had by 2014-15 waned to that was the reason to create the civil unrest in the Kashmir Valley in order to ensure a favourable situation once again for the renewed LoC along with a spurt in the insurgency within Kashmir. The surge in terrorist actions in 2016 is attributed to this phenomenon among other reasons.
Five major attacks have been launched by the terror groups in Pakistan since January 2016 including Pathankot Air Force base on January 2, 2016, Pampore attack on June 25, 2016, Poonch attack on September 11, 2016, Uri attack on September 18, 2016, and Nagrota attack on November 29, 2016. Following the Uri attack in which the army had suffered considerable casualties, surgical strikes were launched 10 days later by the Indian Army on the night of September 28/29 by India’s Special Forces (SF) on the terrorists who had concentrated in their advance positions This operation resulted in causing the elimination of about 40 terrorists in PoK. Relentless operations by the Army along the line of control and in the hinterland in concert with other security forces have thwarted the designs of the Pak Army-terror group’s nexus to waged against India.
A surgical strike was also carried out earlier in the year across the international border in Myanmar against the insurgents comprising NSCN (K) cadres and other militant groups who are based there. This was consequent to the June 4, 2016, ambush on an Army convoy in Chandel district of Manipur which killed 18 soldiers of the army in the deadliest attack in two decades.
Apart from asserting the strength of the Indian state, the surgical strikes and the “hot pursuit” operations have also sent a crucial message to Pakistan and China, as the latter has, according to Indian intelligence sources, been supporting varied militant ultras in the North East. It also indicates a shift to a more aggressive stance by India against insurgency, terrorism and proxy wars waged against the Indian state.
During the year 2016 Indian Army has held a large number of joint military exercises with friendly foreign countries including France, United States, Russia, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Nepal. The aim of all the exercises was to practise countering international terrorism and counter-insurgency operations and other operational activities under the United Nations mandate. The conduct of joint military exercises is also an important step to uphold the values of peace, prosperity and stability in the region.
General Bipin Rawat has been appointed as the new COAS on December 31 (AN) and has taken over his duties since then. An outstanding General with a remarkable track record he brings COAS. With his appointment the issue of appointing a Chief of Defence Staff / Permanent Chairman to the Chiefs of Staff Committee has once again erupted and it seems that the government is seriously contemplating the creation and establishment of a fourth four-star general who will nature of future wars mandates a superior level of jointness which is currently lacking along with many other advantages that will accrue as a result of obtaining a single point military advice from the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff has already been established and they will act as the staff for the CDS/Permanent Chairman COSC.
The new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 was promulgated for capital procurements and came into effect from April 1, 2016. DPP 2016 has a focus on achieving the ‘Make in India’ vision by according priority to ‘ Buy Indian IDDM’ (Indian Designed, Developed and Manufactured) and ‘ Buy (Indian)’ categories. It also focuses on enhancement and rationalisation of indigenous content.
The Ministry of Defence has also issued guidelines for penalties in business dealings with entities which have come into effect from November 21. The guidelines are available at http://mod.nic.in/writereaddata/guideentities.pdf.
To expedite capacity building as well as offensive capabilities of the armed forces, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the apex body of the Ministry of Defence in matters of acquisitions, have cleared different critical and high-end defence procurement proposals to the tune of more than ₹ 1,00,000 crore. As regards the modernisation and equipment requirements of the army, this issue of SP’s Land Forces contains an article on “Priority Areas for Army Modernisation”. The other articles included are “Civil-Military Relations—A Viewpoint”; “Curbing Militancy and Terrorism in J&K”; A Brief History of the Indian Army—Post-Independence”.
We wish all our readers a Very Happy New Year!
Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd)