Need to institutionalise national security strategy and structure, say military experts

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New Delhi | Published: May 25, 2019 7:27:47 PM

In view of the changing security situations in the region, there is an urgent need for modernisation and indigenisation for the armed forces. There are several projects that have been stuck due to several reasons and these will need to be pushed.

Modernisation of the armed forces a continuous process needs impetus. (Representational Image)

National security has been a strong underlying theme in the recently concluded general elections. In the ensuing five years the next Government has to institutionalise national security strategy and structures opine defence and security experts.

The new government has a lot to act on and deliver. For that to be meaningful and effective, it needs to realize that the last five years have been too much of sloganeering rather than effective implementation, say security experts.

Air Marshal M Matheswaran (retd), Chairman & President, The Peninsula Foundation outlines priorities for the new government. He says that the new government should get outside professional expertise, particularly as finance and defence ministers. Also, Defence modernization needs the highest priority. It needs significant investment and financial allocation.

According to him, “ Make in India needs a thorough review of effective strategy and implementation. So far it has been a huge failure.”

“Securitisation is a larger debate that goes well beyond traditional external and internal security. We will have to contemplate actors, drivers and trends that could create security issues in India. These can be environment and climate change, fissiparous tendencies, urban-rural divide, inequalities among peoples, rural and agricultural distress, aspirational nature of society, and many many more,” opines Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma (retd).

Sharma says that the armed forces require a new impetus and the Government must focus on the revitalisation of their management. The stated ‘muscular’ response as surgical or air strikes indicates a continuation of policy hereinafter. There is a need for a clear National Security Strategy, finally, that will be the basis of planning processes and procurement systemic for the Armed Forces. “In fact, the bureaucratese in procurement processes with the much need transparency needs a dramatic transition,” he adds.

Modernisation of the armed forces a continuous process needs impetus.

Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (retd), former DGMO and Colonel of the Parachute Regiment, has suggested inclusive defence reforms to revamp structures and organisations like Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) and others with the aim of achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing and cut down imports.

In view of the changing security situations in the region, there is an urgent need for modernisation and indigenisation for the armed forces. There are several projects that have been stuck due to several reasons and these will need to be pushed.

Air Marshal Nirdosh Tyagi (retd), former Deputy Chief of Air Staff says “The capability to make defence equipment in India is a win-win situation for the country, besides being an important strategic requirement. It results in cost savings, employment generation and reduces the possibility of sanctions or denial by the supplier nations.”

There is an urgent need for revamping structures and organisations like the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA). This is needed if India is looking to achieve self-reliance in defence manufacturing and cut down imports.

According to Tyagi, the dwindling fighter strength of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is a matter of concern and needs to be addressed soon. Tender for 114 fighters must be released on priority, he recommends.

In sum, though National Security had been a key agenda issue in the elections past, there is much to be done, and the Government’s task in this matter is well laid out.

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