Judicious mix of self-reliance and acquisitions required
Consider this, India is all set to become one of the four largest military powers in the world by the end of 2020. In Asia, it has the second largest active military personnel after China. It is the largest importer of weapons over the last five years and the seventh largest military spender. All these are required as in the northern borders the threat perceptions are ominous, while internally there are disruptive elements. The armed forces have to be truly armed and by truly armed we mean ‘modern equipment’.
It is in this background, we welcome the updated Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap (TPCR) 2013, just released by the Integrated Defence Staff. The TPCR covers the expansive wish list of technologies and capabilities that the armed forces intend to acquire either indigenously or from abroad in the course of the next 15 years. It seeks to synergise requirements and capabilities between the three armed forces and the Indian Coast Guard in a manner that lends to jointmanship, efficiency, lethality and economy of resources. It has to be a judicious mix of indigenous technologies and from overseas companies.
The Defence Minister A.K. Antony has rightly said that our defence forces require timely and cost-effective acquisition of defence equipment to enable them to meet any challenge to the country’s security. The TPCR will also create awareness in industry of the capability and technology requirement of the armed forces and the ecosystems that need to be developed for the same.
In this issue, we have mentioned how the Indian Army is on the path of becoming a multi-dimensional and modern outfit, keeping in mind the future battlefield which is going to go beyond geographical space and physical domain.
As regards the Indian Air Force, upgradation of combat aircraft and enhancement of heavy airlift capabilities should be continuous efforts and the government of the day has to take note of these requirements. As for the Indian Navy is concerned, the lead time for naval platforms takes a long time and the authorities should take note of these and create and develop assets in proper perspective. It is good that the document talks about air-launched anti-submarine warfare weapons and other modern technologies.
The TPCR keeps in mind the dynamic changes that are taking place in technologies that go in securing the nation and also in nation-building tasks. The focus should be on futuristic technologies.
Among the futuristic technologies would include snooping devices. In his frank and forthright column, Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch dwells on Edward Snowden’s disclosure that the US National Security Agency has been snooping globally. Stating that there has been a sharp increase in publicly disclosed vulnerabilities across security products during 2012 and future prediction is of increased attacks on security products, companies or solutions and that we have to live with this reality till we develop indigenous operating systems, hardware, software and chips.
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Jayant Baranwal Publisher & Editor-in-Chief