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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Are we prepared to counter Comprehensive National Security threats? A talk by Lt. Gen. Khandare

In today’s world, strategic and diplomatic equations keep changing frequently. Bharat’s geographical location and hostile neighborhood add to its security concerns making it all the more important for the country to pay attention to its Comprehensive National Security so as to prevent any problems in the future.

To discuss this important issue, SMaRT4Bharat conducted the second workshop on ‘Comprehensive National Security‘, where Lt. Gen. Vinod Khandare (Advisor to the Ministry of Defence) put forth his views on this topic of utmost importance. This workshop was hosted by Swagna Panda and Anamika from SMaRT4Bharat. HinduPost was also invited to this workshop and are sharing the key takeaways from this highly enriching discussion for our readers.

According to Lt. Gen. Vinod Khandare, Comprehensive National Security is a very important concept for our nation. Unfortunately, people are not very much aware of it and it is not a constituent of our education system. People are still not aware of the relation between ‘Citizen and State’.

He raised a critical question – Is our Army prepared to handle Comprehensive National Security threats?

He gave brief information about the constant wars and aggression our armed forces have been experiencing since independence. Our forces have fought 3 full-fledged wars, successfully handled the Kargil operation, been involved in the Sri Lanka peacekeeping operation, and several other small battles and constant skirmishes.

Our Armed forces successfully thwarted the Chinese Army in the Nathu-La battle of 1967, and since then we didn’t see Chinese aggression until recently. In recent times, we have seen how our forces were able to counter Chinese tactics in Doklam and Galwan. However, it is very important to understand that it is the political might that drives the Armed Force’s action.

Traditionally the Indian Armed forces are not aggressive in nature, we haven’t attacked any neighboring country, and haven’t shown any occupational tendencies towards our adversaries. However, our armed forces are known for their situational awareness and that’s why they keep on improving their war-preparedness.

Modernization of our Armed Forces – A constant process

Indian Armed Forces were known for having old and dated equipment, but in recent years we have changed the approach and are now working to fix the fundamental issues to ramp up our preparedness. Our government has made some serious structural changes in the OFB (Ordnance Factory Board) and split it into 7 separate companies. The decision raised many questions initially, but it paid really well as in its initial 6 months, 6 out of the 7 companies made a provisional profit.

Traditionally we were dependent on Russia for arms supply, and it created a lot of challenges due to lack of quality weapons, maintenance, and services issue. However, we have learned the lesson and have started approaching America, Israel, and several European countries for our defense imports.

Our government has gone one step ahead and initiated the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, where the PLI scheme has been started for the Defense sector. It helped us to set up joint ventures with Russian, American, and European manufacturers to develop arms such as rifles, fighter jets, submarines, and attack ships in Bharat.

We are among the very few nations that possess the Nuclear Triad, which gives us the capability to use a nuclear weapon from land, air, and water. We are in the advanced stage to sign an agreement to develop our own fighter jet engine with the help of Safran (France), which may be used in our 5th generation fighter jet AMCA.

Internal Challenges our Armed Forces experience

Apart from the conventional security threats, our Armed Forces are facing several internal challenges as well. We have listed a few issues here :

Lack of awareness – People and media are unaware of the command structure and ranks of our armed forces, and that’s the reason why they are unable to understand the working of our armed forces.
Media Insensitivity – Media has been very insensitive while reporting the news related to our armed force operations. We have seen how media reports half-baked stories and sometimes tries to unnecessarily interfere in their operations.
Judiciary – It has been among the biggest challenge for our armed forces, as we have seen how sections of the judiciary indulge in judicial overreach to take steps which can threaten the security of our forces, especially in the matter of AFSPA and other politico-legal areas.
NGOs – There are many bad faith actors that operate with impunity in our country and use fake human rights issues to target our armed forces.
Environmental issues – Various NGOs and political organizations stall any infrastructure development work in strategically important border areas, which impacts the capability of our Armed Forces.
Political interference – We know how our political parties raise absurd doubts about the capabilities of our armed forces. We have seen how few political parties reacted when our forces performed surgical strikes, and how they interfered in several defense procurement deals.

Religious issues in Armed Forces

Contrary to the recent controversy, our Armed forces are truly secular in nature, where every religion and faith has got equal respect. Every unit has a religious teacher, who is responsible for teaching the real essence of the religion, and they try to ensure no radicalization spreads among our forces. Hence our citizens should not worry about what the media says, our armed forces have Nationalism as their core religion, and they are known for their unquestionable dedication towards Bharat Mata.

In this digital era, technology and internet have been used by our adversaries to unleash propaganda and 5th-6th generation warfare upon Bharat. During such times, as a citizen, it is our moral responsibility to stand with our Armed Forces and help them counter the Comprehensive National Security threats in the digital world.

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