SP's LandForces - - MODERNISATION -

The on­set of the New Year wit­nessed the at­tack on the Pathankot air­base of the In­dian Air Force, which has an area of about 800 hectares and a 24-km-long perime­ter wall. The general lax­ity in pro­tect­ing this for­ward air­base was ev­i­dent. So was the per­ceived lack of com­mand, con­trol and co­or­di­na­tion among dif­fer­ent se­cu­rity agen­cies dur­ing the con­duct of the op­er­a­tion. It is dis­tress­ing to note that de­spite 25 years of fac­ing proxy war launched by Pak­istan on our west­ern bor­ders, our re­sponses, or­gan­i­sa­tional drills and pro­ce­dures at na­tional level and our com­bat equip­ment are still far from sat­is­fac­tory.

Seven weeks later an­other op­er­a­tion was car­ried by three well armed ter­ror­ists from Pak­istan in Pam­pore on the out­skirts of Sri­na­gar. While the Para Com­man­dos of the Army killed the three and a com­mando jawan in the process. Both op­er­a­tions showed tech­nol­ogy, sur­veil­lance de­vices, mod­ern weapon sys­tems and sol­diers for want of bet­ter equip­ment and for this we must blame our se­nior mil­i­tary hi­er­ar­chy who seem to have lost their will to stand up to their po­lit­i­cal lead­ers.

The lat­est talk­ing point of mil­i­tary and strate­gic an­a­lysts is the de­fence bud­get 2016-17. The most in­trigu­ing part is the ob­vi­ously de­lib­er­ate omis­sion of any men­tion of the de­fence bud­get in the Finance Min­is­terÕs 90 min­utes pre­sen­ta­tion of the union bud­get in the Par­lia­ment. What­ever may be the rea­sons, what needs to be un­der­stood by all is that while old ad­ver­sar­ial threats due to un­re­solved bor­ders re­main, new chal­lenges like in­sur­gen­cies and ter­ror­ism have emerged. If the armed forces have to pre­pare for the full spec­trum of threat then the na­tion will have to set aside three to four per cent of GDP for de­fence ser­vices mi­nus the de­fence pen­sions which do not con­trib­ute to ca­pa­bil­ity devel­op­ment of the armed forces. We can­not ex­pect a 40-divi­sion Army, a 42-squadron Air Force and 150-plat­form Navy, to be main­tained and mod­ernised by an al­lo­ca­tion less than two per cent of the GDP.

Cur­rently the In­dian Army is - ven­tional wars of the 20th cen­tury, which are un­likely to oc­cur. They also have the ca­pa­bil­ity and the wars but with out­dated tech­nolo­gies, method­olo­gies and weapon sys­tems which is tak­ing a heavy toll of its sol­diery. Thus we rec­om­mend: In­dia should im­me­di­ately in­sti­tute a Strate­gic De­fence and Se­cu­rity Re­view, com­pris­ing a wide rang­ing man­date given to this body of ex­perts. They should in­di­cate the type of op­er­a­tions that the armed forces should be pre­pared to re­spond to on the bor­ders, in out of area op­er­a­tions, and in­ter­nally and the type of over­all ca­pa­bil­ity that should be ac­quired by the armed forces. In­dia should evolve and en­act a Na­tional Se­cu­rity Strat­egy which should broadly in­di­cate our in­ter­ests and re­sponses within the coun­try, in the re­gional as well as in the global con­text. This will give broad in­di­ca­tions to the mil­i­tary for their plan­ning pur­poses. This is­sue of SP’s Land For­c­car­ries ar­ti­cles on de­fence mod­erni­sa­tion, and sep­a­rate ar­ti­cles on ar­tillery and air de­fence mod­erni­sa­tion among oth­ers.

Lt Gen­eral V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.