India Witnessing Trailers Of Future Conflicts, But Country’s Statecraft Wisdom Timeless, Pertinent: Army Chief Naravane
The statement came a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday hit out at the government over its foreign policy decisions which he alleged have brought China and Pakistan together against India.
New Delhi: India is witnessing trailers of future conflicts and its adversaries will continue with efforts to achieve their strategic aims, said Army Chief Gen MM Naravane on Thursday delving into the national security challenges emanating from China and Pakistan. This came a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday hit out at the government over its foreign policy decisions which he alleged have brought China and Pakistan together against India.
Addressing a seminar organised by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), Gen Naravane said India is facing “unique, substantial and multi-domain” security challenges and that developments on the northern borders have adequately underscored the requirement of ready and capable forces with an optimal component of boots on the ground backed by modern technology to preserve the country’s sovereignty and integrity.
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Without directly naming China and Pakistan, Gen Naravane said that the disputed borders with nuclear-capable neighbours coupled with state-sponsored proxy war were stretching the security apparatus and the resources.
He said the Army is focusing on “restructuring, rebalancing and reorienting” its forces and the process has already been initiated and that the force is committed to the theaterisation initiative to ensure tri-services integration.
“We are witnessing trailers of future conflicts. These are being enacted daily on the information battlefield, in the networks and in cyberspace. They are also being played along unsettled and active borders,” he said.
“It is for us now to visualise the battlefield contours of tomorrow based on these trailers. If you look around, you will realise the reality of today,” he said.
Gen Naravane said the developments in Afghanistan have again brought to focus the use of proxies and non-state actors to decisive effect.
“These actors thrive on local conditions, innovatively exploit low-cost options to devastating impact and create conditions that limit the full use of sophisticated capabilities which are available to state,” he said.
The Army Chief said India’s adversaries will continue to make efforts to achieve their goals against the country.
“Our adversary shall continue with their efforts to achieve their strategic aims..sort of conflict by use of grey zone activities in the political, military and economic domains, and do so in a collusive manner,” he said.
“The events of 2020 have been testimony to the diversity of security threats in all domains and this has brought the spotlight towards non-contact and grey zone warfare. We need to augment capabilities in both non-contact and contact modes of warfare,” the Army Chief said referring to the eastern Ladakh face-off.
While highlighting the changing nature of conflicts, Gen Naravane, however, said that the ancient Indian wisdom on statecraft and application of force propounded many centuries ago remained “timeless and pertinent” even today.
He said that the armed forces have initiated an exploratory project of examining the ancient Indian wisdom and knowledge for contemporary security challenges.
In an oblique reference to China, he also said that some nations are challenging the globally accepted norms and the rules-based order.
This, he said has manifested in various forms that included aggression and opportunistic actions to change the “status quo” keeping the threshold below all-out war.
On the ceasefire with Pakistan along the Line of Control with Pakistan, the Army Chief said it continued to hold “because we have negotiated from a position of strength.”
Rahul Gandhi’s remark in Parliament
The statement came a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, speaking first from the Opposition side in Lok Sabha during the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address, said while the strategic goal of India has been to keep China and Pakistan apart, the government was doing the opposite.
“The Chinese have a very clear vision of what they want to do… the single biggest strategic goal of India’s foreign policy has been to keep Pakistan and China separate. This is fundamental for India and what you have done, is you have brought them together. Today, do not be under any illusion.
“Do not underestimate the force that is standing in front of you. Do not underestimate the power that stands in front of us, do not underestimate it. You have brought Pakistan and China together and this is the single biggest crime that you could commit against the people of India,” he said.
Gandhi further stated that China has a clear vision and urged the government to correct these mistakes.
“The foundations of their plan have been put in place in Doklam and Ladakh. Don’t underestimate what we are facing. This is a very-very serious threat to the Indian nation. We have made huge strategic mistakes in Jammu and Kashmir, we have made a huge strategic mistake in our foreign policy…you have brought China and Pakistan together, you have taken the concept of two different fronts and converted it into one unified front…”
“…It is very clear that the Chinese and the Pakistanis are planning. Look at the weapons they are buying, look at their activity, look at the way they are talking, look at who they are speaking too. I am clearly stating in the house of Parliament that we have made a massive blunder and we need to make sure, absolutely sure, that we can defend ourselves against the Chinese,” he said.
The Congress leader had also accused the government of using the judiciary, the Election Commission, and Pegasus spyware as “instruments of destroying the voice of the union of states”.
(With PTI inputs)
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