Y.B. Chavan Memorial Lecture 2021 by Gen. Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

November 26, 2021

The Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses organised the 12th Y.B. Chavan Memorial Lecture by Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, ADC on ‘Restructuring of the Indian Armed Forces: The Way Ahead’ on November 26, 2021.

In his Welcome Address, Director General, MP-IDSA, Amb. Sujan R. Chinoy pointed out that the task of restructuring the Higher Defence Organisation (HDO) is being addressed in right earnest by the Government today with General Bipin Rawat at the helm of affairs. Even in the age of artificial intelligence and stand-off weapons, many of the challenges that India faces, and many of its adversaries, have remained the same. Today, unlike in the past, India does not lack resources for its armed forces, particularly because the Government of India is strongly committed to providing them with whatever they need to protect the country’s interests.

In his keynote address, General Bipin Rawat outlined the need to balance the requirements of the armed forces in the overall context of national resources and the needs of infrastructure. Outlining the difference between “military force” and “military power”, he underscored India’s pole position in an evolving security scenario.

General Rawat touched upon the concept of strategic frontiers as distinct from geographical boundaries. He described the journey of the Indian armed forces over the decades and the lessons learnt through various wars leading up to the current focus on integrated functional commands and theatres. He emphasised that to deal with the challenges of the future battle space, it is vital to pay adequate attention to cyber threats, integration of special forces, reform of the current tri-service commands, and Atmanirbhar Bharat in defence manufacturing with the fullest involvement of both the public and private sectors.

General Rawat observed that defence reforms would help in optimising and integrating the strength and responsibilities of the three defence wings, which in turn could be exploited optimally by a single commander in charge. He argued that while actual combat may be rare in today’s age yet one needs to be prepared for any eventuality.

The Y.B. Chavan Memorial Lecture is an annual lecture organised by MP-IDSA in collaboration with the Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan since 2010.