While the Army chief remains hopeful of an end to the LAC stalemate even as Pakistan continues ceasefire violations at the Line of Control (LOC) and engages in fanning terrorism in Kashmir, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said here on Tuesday the armed forces have to be prepared as its adversaries may take advantage if its military power is not strong.
These observations came days after Rawat warned that the ongoing tension at the LAC may flare up into a larger conflict. Addressing the inaugural session of the Bharatshakti, a portal on defence military issues on Tuesday, he said the Indian armed forces are operating in a very complex, and uncertain environment.
Given this scenario, he said the armed forces must continue to enhance capabilities for peace in the region as India’s adversaries may take advantage if its military power is not strong. He also said India wants to share its military capabilities with friendly countries in the neighbourhood and the extended neighbourhood as well as to those who need its support.
“We are today operating in a very complex, uncertain and a very volatile environment. There are small and big battles raging nearly in every region of the world. Therefore, we all need strong armed forces if we have to defend ourselves, defend our nation, defend the integrity of our nation and the safety and security of our people,” Rawat said.
“But, then are we saying that armed forces must prepare for war?
No. The armed forces must develop capabilities to bring about peace in the region. If we do not have strong armed forces, the adversary will take advantage of us,” he said.
In a message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cited various reform initiatives rolled out by the government in the defence sector to produce modern equipment and harness new technology as well as to infuse better synergy among the armed forces.
“We are marching ahead with the nation’s collective resolve to build a modern and self reliant India. Our resoluteness gets reflected in an unprecedented spirit of self-confidence in the defence sector today,” Modi said.
The prime minister said a self-reliant India is a “win-win resolve” for all the stakeholders, as this vision is for world peace and a resilient global economy. “From private and public sectors to foreign partners, all would get strength from India’s vibrant strategic ecosystem,” he said. The message was read out at the conclave.
In his address, Rawat also spoke about challenges being faced by the armed forces operating in difficult challenging environments including in jungles, deserts and terrains ranging from 6,000 to 6,500 metres in altitude.
“Our navy operates in Indo-Pacific, an area which witnesses the largest concentration of white shipping. They have to develop technologies not only to operate on the surface but below the surface of the ocean as well in an environment which is becoming increasingly complex,” the CDS said.
He said the Indian armed forces need capabilities that no other armed forces in the world will perhaps require due to varied challenges and environment. Therefore, Rawat said the kind of technology India is developing and the weapons systems that can find their way into the Indian inventory will be second to none.
“We are not hesitant in inviting foreign collaborators who can support our industry, hand-hold them and move on...We also want to share the capabilities with the other armed forces around the globe, particularly in the neighbourhood and extended neighbourhood,” Rawat said. IAF chief RKS Bhadauria said the threat by India’s adversaries is ‘deep and long term’.
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