At the re­cent Com­bined Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence, the Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi made a sig­nif­i­cant point on how the armed forces have to go ‘dig­i­tal’ con­sid­er­ing that fu­ture se­cu­rity chal­lenges will be less pre­dictable, sit­u­a­tions will evolve and change swiftly and the like. With full-scale wars be­com­ing rare and the du­ra­tions of con­flict be­com­ing shorter, dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies are go­ing to be piv­otal in the scheme of things.

The Prime Min­is­ter has rightly stated that at the end of the day, ca­pa­bil­ity of the force will be cru­cial. “When we speak of Dig­i­tal In­dia, we would also like to see a ‘Dig­i­tal Armed Force’,” while urg­ing the de­fence forces to give se­ri­ous thought to up­grade tech­no­log­i­cal skills for ef­fec­tive power pro­jec­tion at all lev­els.

By men­tion­ing the in­vis­i­ble en­emy, the Prime Min­is­ter was ob­vi­ously re­fer­ring to the grow­ing threat of ter­ror­ism and in­sur­gency that In­dia is fac­ing, which in­cludes re­fo­cus­ing of Al Qaeda to South Asia, en­try of ISIS in Af-Pak re­gion-Mal­dives and the en­hanced ter­ror threat from our neigh­bour­hood; Bangladeshi links to Bur­d­wan blasts, Sri Lankan rad­i­cals un­der­tak­ing surveil­lance spy­ing in South In­dia and the like.

In line with this think­ing, the im­por­tance of tech­nolo­gies needs to be overem­pha­sised. It is our en­deav­our at SP’s M.A.I. to keep you up­dated on tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments. Not just that, we reg­u­larly or­gan­ise sem­i­nars/con­fer­ences in as­so­ci­a­tion with other in­dus­try bod­ies to pro­vide nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion in­puts and also to stim­u­late think­ing. On Oc­to­ber 27, in as­so­ci­a­tion with FICCI we or­gan­ised a sem­i­nar on ‘Digi­ti­sa­tion of the Bat­tle­field’ which pro­vided a plat­form for healthy in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the armed forces, the pri­vate sec­tor and the de­fence in­dus­trial es­tab­lish­ments and we hope to see tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments in the years to come. In­dia has the ca­pa­bil­i­ties, we just need to chan­nelise our en­er­gies, our strengths and our tal­ent. Here, it may not be out of place to men­tion the ef­forts of Brazil which through Em­braer has led in de­fence and aero­space in­dus­try and the company’s lat­est roll out of KC-390 tac­ti­cal air­craft is tes­ti­mony to its prow­ess.

The bot­tom line is that In­dian firms need to get for­eign in­vest­ments and for­eign tech­nol­ogy and for that to hap­pen the for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment (FDI) and the De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure (DPP) need to be ad­dressed con­jointly. We be­lieve it will hap­pen con­sid­er­ing a proac­tive gov­ern­ment is in place. In SP’s Exclusives we have fea­tured an in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cle on how two In­dian-born sis­ters serve as a per­fect bridge be­tween In­dia and the US. The sis­ters are part of a 12-sol­dier Cal­i­for­nia Army Na­tional Guard con­tin­gent which was present at ex­er­cise Yudh Ab­hyas.

Con­tin­u­ing on In­dia’s re-en­er­gised for­eign re­la­tions, Lt Gen­eral P.C. Ka­toch (Retd) writes about the visit of the Viet­nam Prime Min­is­ter Nguyen Tan Dung and how it pans out in Asian geopol­i­tics. With Modi at the helm, the geopol­i­tics of the re­gion is get­ting a dy­namic shape. He seems to en­thuse the re­gion, per se. At home, he con­tin­ues to en­thuse a vast sec­tion and this time it was the armed forces per­son­nel with whom he spent time at Si­achen on Di­wali day.

Happy read­ing!

Jayant Baranwal Pub­lisher & Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

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