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 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.
Though the Pakistan army denies its involvement in raising violence levels along the LoC, the international boundary and in the hinterland, it is understood well that without the active support of the army and the ISI, no serious attempt can be made by the terrorists to infiltrate.
Though public-private partnerships is encouraged, privately the government continues to retain its monopoly on research and development and defence production through the DRDO, the ordnance factories and the defence PSUs.
The emerging doctrine of intervention is built around the ability of the international community, mainly the US-led western alliance, to impose its collective will in order to restore a deteriorating situation or to prevent a nascent conflict from burgeoning into full blown war with wider ramifications.