Prime Min­is­ter pitches for a ‘Dig­i­tal Armed Force’

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - [ By R. Chan­drakanth ]

The Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi ad­dressed the Com­bined Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence 2014 in the De­fence Min­istry War Room on Oc­to­ber 17, even while ten­sion con­tin­ues along the bor­ders of China and Pak­istan. The con­fer­ence is the first meet­ing of the Prime Min­is­ter with all top com­man­ders, in­clud­ing the three Ser­vice chiefs.

The Prime Min­is­ter said that In­dia’s armed forces, which rep­re­sent the world’s largest democ­racy, were sec­ond to none in pro­fes­sion­al­ism, val­our, com­mit­ment, ser­vice and duty. The armed forces have al­ways vin­di­cated the faith and con­fi­dence that peo­ple of In­dia placed in them, whether it is for our na­tion’s se­cu­rity or for re­lief in times of nat­u­ral calami­ties.

The Prime Min­is­ter noted that the world was look­ing at In­dia with re­newed in­ter­est, con­fi­dence and ex­cite­ment and there was a univer­sal cur­rent of ex­pec­ta­tion from In­dia to emerge not only as one of the poles of the global econ­omy, but also as one of the an­chors of re­gional and global se­cu­rity. He em­pha­sised that an at­mos­phere of peace and se­cu­rity was es­sen­tial to en­able In­dia to achieve its goals of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

He noted that “beyond the im­me­di­ate, we are fac­ing a fu­ture where se­cu­rity chal­lenges will be less pre­dictable; sit­u­a­tions will evolve and change swiftly; and, tech­no­log­i­cal changes will make re­sponses more dif­fi­cult to keep pace with. The threats may be known, but the en­emy may be in­vis­i­ble. Dom­i­na­tion of cy­ber space will be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant. Con­trol of space may be­come as crit­i­cal as that of land, air and sea. Full-scale wars may be­come rare, but force will re­main an in­stru­ment of de­ter­rence and in­flu­enc­ing be­hav­iour, and the du­ra­tion of con­flicts will be shorter.”

He as­sured the armed forces of his com­mit­ment to pro­vide ad­e­quate re­sources to en­sure full de­fence preparedness, over­come short­ages and meet mod­erni­sa­tion needs. He also asked the de­fence es­tab­lish­ment to re­form pro­cure­ment pro­cesses as also sug­gest cor­rec­tive mea­sures to avoid de­lays in do­mes­tic de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion of de­fence equip­ment.

“We should re­mem­ber that what mat­ters is ca­pa­bil­ity of the force. When we speak of Dig­i­tal In­dia, we would also like to see a ‘Dig­i­tal Armed Force,’ ” and asked the Ser­vices to give se­ri­ous thought to up­grade tech­no­log­i­cal skills for ef­fec­tive pro­jec­tion of power by men.

He called for in­creased joint­ness and urged the three wings of the Ser­vices to work as a team. He sug­gested that the Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ences should be or­gan­ised al­ter­nately on sea, in for­ward Army camps and at air­bases, while as­sur­ing the Com­man­ders that he would con­tinue the prac­tice that he had started of meet­ing the three Chiefs at least once a month.

The In­dian Air Force chief, Air Chief Mar­shal Arup Raha, as the chair­man of the Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee, made a pre­sen­ta­tion, fol­lowed by the In­dian Navy chief Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan and the In­dian Army chief, Gen­eral Dal­bir Singh.

Be­sides the Prime Min­is­ter, De­fence Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley ad­dressed the con­fer­ence. Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj, Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh, the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Ajit Do­val and De­fence Sec­re­tary R.K. Mathur were part of the con­fer­ence.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi ad­dress­ing the top com­man­ders of the In­dian armed forces,

dur­ing Com­bined Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence in New Delhi

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