Lt Gen Anil Chait (rtd)
Feb 20, 2015:
In both the geographic and strategic contexts, India is located in the most dangerous region of the world. The threats it faces are manifold – conventional threats from traditional adversaries who are nuclear powers with a very low professed threshold to escalate a prospective combat to a nuclear conflagration.
There are, in addition, longstanding and ongoing threats of internal disturbances-past insurgencies, which are lying dormant, but not subdued. More recent and alarming is the threat of the non-conventional Fourth Generation Warfare with prospects of causing crippling damage to institutions and systems extending far outside the military strategic sphere, for which proactive preclusive deterrence is the only practical defence.
To be effective in accomplishing their duties, the armed forces need to maintain a concept led, capability based modernisation even while remaining threat aware and resource conscious. This is feasible only if threats in all their manifestations are carefully understood and capabilities needed to accomplish operational and strategic requirements identified.
The operational roles of our forces is not one monolithic task. On the other hand, it is diverse and diffused, akin to three or four armies rolled into one combating conjointly, a proxy war in J&K, insurgency in the North East, keeping vigil and generating response against Chinese probes across Himalayas, besides the day to day border management role on the border and LOC with Pakistan. For each of these roles, training, equipment, plans and tactics are vastly different and call for our forces to make deliberate and harsh choices in modernising within the constraints of budget priorities.
To do so effectively, there is first, a need for a new military doctrine that takes into consideration the changing environment that denominates a new generation of equipment to counter the myriad threats growing in the South Asian region. The doctrine should outline ways to defend and secure India, deter near-term aggression and generate and maintain long-term conventional military parity/supremacy.