Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd.) is Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and former Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi. Click here for details profile [+}
The national aim should be to make India a design, development, manufacture and export hub. India must study the Chinese concepts of “leap frogging” of technology across several generations and “civilianisation” to exploit dual use technology.
Despite the lessons learnt during the Kargil conflict, where artillery firepower paved the way for victory, modernisation of the artillery continued to be neglected. The recent acquisition of 814 truck-mounted 155 mm/52-calibre guns is a step in the right direction.
The military has ridden roughshod over Pakistan’s polity for most of the country’s history since its independence. The Pakistani army, once described as a ‘state within a state’, is now being viewed by many as the state. In fact, the army and the ISI (the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate) together form the ‘deep state’.
The new optical fibre network being laid as an alternative to the 3G spectrum surrendered by the armed forces will go a long way in providing modern land-line communications in peace stations and to limited extent up to the war-time locations of higher formation HQ.
Foremost on the government’s defence and national security reforms agenda should be the formulation of a comprehensive National Security Strategy (NSS), including that for internal security. The NSS should be formulated after carrying out an inter-departmental, inter-agency, multi-disciplinary strategic defence review and must take the public into confidence.
It has been a year of unstable regional security with the endless conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s half-hearted struggle against the remnants of the al Qaeda, Sri Lanka’s inability to find a lasting solution to its ethnic problems and Nepal’s new found inclination to seek neutrality between India and China.
All major democracies have opted for the CDS and India cannot ignore it any further. In the prevailing battlefield milieu of joint operations, combined operations and even coalition operations, modern armed forces cannot be successful without a well-developed and deeply ingrained culture of jointmanship.
India’s interests lie in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and one of its major policy objectives would be to see the elimination of terrorism from Afghanistan and the destruction of all sanctuaries of the Taliban and the Al Qaeda.