AIR Spotlight - Defence Preparedness of the Nation

AIR Spotlight is an insightful program featured daily on the All India Radio Newsonair. In this program, many eminent panellists discuss issues of importance which can be quite helpful in IAS exam preparation. In this article, a discussion on the defence preparedness of India is featured.

Participants:

  • Major General Ashok Kumar, Security Analyst
  • Ajay Banarjee, Journalist

Context:

The article will discuss the military moderation and readiness of the armed forces of the country.

Defence Sector of India:

  • The Government of India is responsible for ensuring the defence of India and every part thereof. The Supreme Command of the Armed Forces vests in the President. The responsibility for national defence rests with the Cabinet.
  • This is discharged through the Ministry of Defence, which provides the policy framework and wherewithal to the Armed Forces to discharge their responsibilities in the context of the defence of the country. The Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister) is the head of the Ministry of Defence.
  • The principal tasks of the Defence Ministry include: 
    • To obtain policy directions of the Government on all defence and security related matters and communicate them for implementation to the Services Headquarters, Inter-Services Organisations, Production Establishments and Research and Development Organisations. 
    • It is also required to ensure effective implementation of the Government’s policy directions and the execution of approved programmes within the allocated resources. 

Pakistan and China as a threat:

  • India faces two-front war scenarios with Pakistan and China. The threat is real and more pronounced on the Chinese front which, on the one hand, is challenging the territorial integrity and at the same time, is coming up with enhanced resource accretion in all domains.
  • To meet that challenge, India not only needs to modernize the combat component of its fighting forces but also has to look at the organizational structures, methods of warfighting and ways to overcome these challenges in a cohesive manner. 

Measures to Strengthen the Defence System:

Lesser Organic Structure:

  • India needs to look at the overall aspects of the warfare system. India has Northern Command, Eastern Command, Southern Command and Central Command. 
  • India needs to focus on a lesser number of organic structures that can address its borders.

Theatre Command:

  • Earlier, India used to fight wars by mutual cooperation among the three services: the Army, the Navy and the Airforce. 
  • Though India succeeded there were certain pitfalls such as their optimum capability not being utilized. 
  • India should adopt a theatrical model under which all components of the Army, the Navy and the Airforce can work together and fight together under a single commander.
  • Theatrization is the critical need of the hour to fight the battle with China and Pakistan.

Cyberwarfare:

  • Cyberwarfare involves the actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation’s computers or information networks through, for example, computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks.
  • India should also adopt the latest warfare technique that is cyber warfare so that the enemies can be destroyed without being physically present.

Warships of India:

  • China is increasing its number of warships. Although it has strong military equipment, it is facing multiple-front challenges such as the issue of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and multiple countries posing their expansion with the South-China Sea.
  • India’s efforts towards QUAD, and better relationships with other countries that are surrounding our challenges with China will force China to divide its resources on multiple fronts, and in a way, it will neutralize how much it can bring against India. 
  • Hence, India has to go ahead with larger production of submarines, aircraft carriers, etc. both in terms of speed and capacity, and side by side India also has to utilize the land-based resources for projection of navy.

Offensive mode:

  • India has to move from the defensive mode to the offensive mode so that rather than depending on other countries, India can face the challenges posed by China one-to-one.

Speed up the decision making:

  • The decision-making process has to be speeded up. All the stakeholders should come forward and work for a common goal of nation-building and national infrastructure of the armed forces.

Read more on the Chief of Defence Staff in the link.

What is Theatre Command?

  • The dictionary meaning of a theatre of war is “the entire land, sea and air areas that are or may become involved directly in war operations”.
  • The word ‘theatre warfare’ became more prominent during World War II with the battles being fought across continents.
  • In World War II, new theatres emerged with multiple fronts – Nordic Front, Western Front, and Eastern Front. There was also the Pacific-Asian Theater, Africa, and the Middle East Theater.
  • These theatres referred to the geographical grounds of the battle and all deployments  – army, navy, and air force – happened accordingly in a unified manner.
  • As of now, almost all major countries like China, Russia, the US, the UK, and France work on a theatre command concept. However, most of this theatre is based on its global outlook and part of its expeditionary character.
  • China is the latest entrant to a theatre concept and comes at a time when it has ambitions to play a larger role in the world.
  • India currently has 19 military commands with 17 of them service-oriented. While both the Army and the Air Force have seven commands each, the Navy has three.
  • The aim is to bring all the 17 individual commands into four or five unified or theatre commands. It might also have two more functional commands for training and logistics.
  • The rationale is that this will help in better planning and military response and also bring down costs.

Read more on Integrated Theatre Commands in the link.

Conclusion:

India has introduced many reforms in the defence sector. Now, it should focus on the modernization of warfare techniques so that it can face the challenges on multiple fronts.

Read more Gist of AIR Spotlight here.

AIR Spotlight – Defence Preparedness of the Nation:- Download PDF Here

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