Armed Forces

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  • Dysfunctional Operating Environment in Defence: Removing the Cobwebs

    Dysfunctional Operating Environment in Defence:  Removing the Cobwebs

    The effort to set right the operating environment has to start with creating a mechanism to review the existing devolution of power comprehensively based on clearly defined principles and not in an ad hoc manner.

    November 05, 2014

    Enhancing Jointness in Indian Armed Forces: Case for Unified Commands

    The nature of warfare has undergone a major change over the last few decades, brought about by rapid advancement in technologies combined with changes in doctrines and organisational concepts. This has resulted in enhanced focus on integrated and joint operations. Unified structures have been put in place by all major militaries in the world to optimise their defence capabilities. India appears to be reluctant to adapt wholeheartedly to the changing nature of war-fighting despite facing a wide variety of threats to its internal and external security.

    January 2015

    Implications of India`s Services Voters

    India has had a healthy tradition of the armed forces personnel being apolitical while being allowed to exercise their democratic right of voting in the electoral process. While the state police and central police and para-military units have been in the front tier of security network during the elections, the armed forces have discharged a crucial auxiliary-cum-supportive role.

    April 09, 2014

    Unshackling the Armed Forces: Need for Greater Delegation of Financial Powers

    The recommendations of a committee set up in 2009 to review the delegated powers were accepted by the Defence Minister in December 2010 but soon thereafter these were held in abeyance because of the perceived fear that there was a large scale misuse of the delegated powers and that implementation of committee’s recommendations would result in excessive delegation of powers.

    March 25, 2014

    Directed Energy Weapons for the Indian Armed Forces

    Military planners believe that the ‘blast and fragmentation’ type conventional weapons cannot advance much further technologically.The next chapter in weapons technology development is expected to be realized from Directed Energy weapons (DEWs). It can be assumed that by 2035, DEWs consisting of laser, microwave and millimeter waves can reach current performance levels of the existing kinetic energy weapons(KEWs) and conventional weapons. While these will co-exist with KEWs,a non-DEW option would have a debilitating effect on the defence preparedness of any nation.

    January 2014

    Assessing Modernization of the Indian Armed Forces through Budgetary Allocations

    India’s quest for modernization of the armed forces is propelled by the persistent threat to its territorial integrity and the aspiration of becoming a great power. However, there is no clearly defined comprehensive policy, much less a carefully crafted strategy, for time-bound modernization of the armed forces and there is no mechanism in place to steer the modernization programme in a holistic manner. In fact, there is considerable ambiguity about the core question as to what constitutes comprehensive ‘modernization’.

    January 2014

    Permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee: Should the appointment be delayed further?

    Though the general elections are due this year, the need of the hour is to build a political consensus on the issue without further delay. It will be to the credit of the government if it is able to generate political consensus and appoint a Permanent Chairman CoSC or CDS.

    January 02, 2014

    Delegation of Powers to the Armed Forces in a Time Warp

    MoD, according to news reports, has instructed the Army HQ that its permission will need to be taken before changing the structure or role of the units in future. This could easily be interpreted to mean that there are no existing instructions on such vital issues. But such an impression would be wrong.

    December 26, 2013

    Kunal Brahma: Why AFSPA is considered a necessity by armed forces?

    Reply: Kindly refer to the following IDSA publications on the issue:

    Vivek Chadha (ed.), “Armed Forces Special Powers Act: The Debate”IDSA Monograph Series No. 7, 2012 (free download)
    Ali Ahmed, “Reconciling AFSPA with the Legal Spheres”Journal of Defence Studies, 5 (2), April 2011 (free download) 
    K.C. Dixit, “Revoking AFSPA Blown Out of Proportion”, Journal of Defence Studies, 4 (4), October 2010 (free download)
    K. C. Dixit, “Calling the Army for Peace Restoration”, IDSA Comment, August 23, 2010. 
    Harinder Singh, AFSPA: A Soldier’s Perspective”IDSA Comment, July 06, 2010.

    Also, refer to earlier replies by Ali Ahmed and K.C. Dixit on a similar/related query posted in this section, at and

    Views expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or the Government of India.

    Suraj Jagtap asked: What is the approach of armed forces and their response to urban terrorist strikes?

    Vivek Chadha replies: The question seeks clarity on the approach of “armed forces” to urban terrorist strikes. It may be presumptuous on my part to assume that the word “armed forces” has been used by mistake and the question actually relates to police and NSG. However, I will attempt to answer both aspects.

    The armed forces in our context comprise of the army, navy and air force. These forces are never the first responders in case of a terrorist strike in urban areas. The first response will almost always come from the police, anti-terrorism cells and, thereafter, specialised forces like the NSG. However, as was the case during 26/11, support of the armed forces can be requisitioned. Therefore, their role is likely to remain in support at best in most areas in the country. The only exception can be disturbed areas where the armed forces are deployed. A similar attack in Srinagar could witness a greater role of the army in support of the police and central armed police organisations (CAPOs) like the CRPF.

    This brings me to the approach of the police and CAPOs. Their approach can be better understood by first understanding the aim of terrorists when an urban strike is undertaken. They want to spread the fear of unknown, discredit the ruling elite, achieve the greatest possible publicity through the sheer audaciousness of the target and nature of attack. Large scale civilian casualties are one of the means of spreading this very message as seen during 26/11 and 9/11 attacks. Therefore, the approach of the security forces is to minimise collateral damage, civilian casualties and loss of property. This limits the sensationalisation of the assault, thereby defeating terrorist aims. Security forces also aim to neutralise the terrorists in a systematic and clinical manner, displaying the efficiency and capability of the state vis-à-vis the terrorists. Finally, and probably most importantly, it is the ability to bring back life to business as usual, which is the best way of defeating the terrorist aim of spreading fear in the society at large.