Absence of Long Term Vision Bane of Indian Army Modernization

Extract from the Brig NB Grant Memorial Lecture delivered by Maj Gen RK Arora, Editor Indian Military Review to members of the Centre for Advanced Strategic Studies, University of Pune on 14 February 2013.
Maj Gen RK Arora
Maj Gen RK Arora
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Feb. 26, 2013 - PRLog -- The ministry of defence (MoD) lists the national security objectives. The Annual Report of the MoD says, “The primary role of the army is to safeguard the territorial integrity of the nation against external threats.... assist civil administration.....”

Gen Padmanabhan, a former army chief, listed the roles quite differently. The Indian Army Doctrine of October 2004 gave absolutely different primary and secondary roles. The tasks included in the Army Doctrine are quite badly conceived.

You will agree that modernisation is a function of threat assessment based on intelligence inputs. Thereafter, countering those threats by building capabilities falls into place. Roles and tasks are the basis of creating the essential capabilities.

Higher Defence Planning

The National Security Council (the erstwhile Defence Committee of the Cabinet), established after 52 years of Independence, has been given a role vide Cabinet Secretariat Resolution dated 16 April 1999. It says ““The Central Government recognises that national security management requires integrated thinking and coordinated application of the political, military, diplomatic, scientific and technological resources of the state to protect and promote national security goals and objectives. National security in the context of the nation needs to be viewed not only in military terms but also in terms of internal security, economic security, technical strength and foreign policy. The role of the Council is to advise the Central Government on the said matters.”

The NSC has not been able to fulfil this role.

The NSC and the Cabinet Committee on National Security have two distinct and complimentary roles. NSC looks to the future. The task cannot be carried out without dedicated staff with adequate expertise. The NSC should come up with holistic assessments and advise different ministries.

The CCNS should also consider the NSC’s recommendations. But the NSC does not have a fully developed staff support. The old JIC staff is functioning as NSC staff. The same staff provides Secretariat support to the NSAB.

The ministries themselves are focused on the present rather than on the future.

The generalist system of civil service inhibits civil servants from acquiring the expertise, or a culture of research or sharing information.

At the top most political level there is an attitude of casual approach to national security. One cannot expect the bureaucracy, the Parliament, the media and others to pay more attention to national security. It might as well be wound up.

National security is looked upon as a short term issue by the Cabinet. There is no long term vision. The nation will pay high costs for this.

The three Chiefs used to attend the DCC but they are excluded from the NSC.

The NSC is expected to frame the threat perceptions and prepare the Security Defence Review.

The NSA is a bureaucrat. There is no CDS.

Can the security system get worse.

Shortcomings in Potential

Over the last 15 years professionalism and fighting potential have taken a hit. The reasons are:

•   Lack of vision and knowledge amongst the political leaders and bureaucracy.
•   Withholding budgetary allocations.
•   Resistance to change amongst senior officers. There is too much personality-oriented policy formulation..
•   Short command tenures are preventing long term outlook are implementation.
•   Aversion to risk taking.
•   Status quo mentality.

The Indian Army is conservative in its outlook and its attitude and outlook. It does not visualise and accept changes easily.

New developments in weapon systems and equipment require changes in tactics and strategy, more frequently, sat evey 10 years rather than 25-30 years as may have been the case in the past. The military has to be more innovative and more open to change.
India has a weak strategic culture. It is incumbent upon the armed forces to force a change in the situation.

There are no white papers, no vision documents, no periodic reviews on the issue of national security in Parliament. The Parliamentary standing committee on defence and the CAG’s reports are not given due attention.

The Army is permanently deployed on the Pakistan and Chinese borders including Siachen and is heavily involved in counter-insurgency operations. To an extent this has created a psychosis against change. The Army is too busy in managing the current situation rather than seriously think about the future. This is not to say that it’s perspective planning, financial planning and military operations are not looking at the future but the effort is not good enough.

Chinas’ Military Modernisation

China is a challenge for all the countries surrounding it. Suddenly you have top-of-the-line fighter jets, stealth fighters, robust ballistic missiles, MIRV warheads, space warfare capabilities, submarine fleet under development, aircraft carriers under construction and so on.

The Chinese are masters in deception. Their military build-up has caught the world by surprise. China has a comprehensive military modernisation plan to become self-reliant based on direct imports, reverse engineering, dual use technologies, internal research and development.

China wants a peaceful international environment and periphery, while it completes modernisation of her armed forces. It is also in the process of strengthening the Party’s grip on power.

The day China seeks pre-eminence and exerts military power in Asia, the world will face serious problems.....more

About Maj Gen RK Arora
Maj Gen (Retd) RK Arora was the former Head of Red Forces at the Army Training Command and General Officer Commanding 12 Infantry Division. He has commanded an amphibious brigade and served in Iran as a UN peacekeeper as well as in the Perspective Planning Directorate of Army HQ and with the Joint Planning Committee in the Ministry of Defence. After taking voluntary retirement in 2009, Gen Arora launched Indian Military Review magazine.

To read the whole speech go to https://workspaces.acrobat.com/?d=hJ6UADATQRJRlthfsmADzA
Source:IMR Media
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Page Updated Last on: Feb 26, 2013
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