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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024

Will military reform be completed in the Khichdi government? Modi’s image may get weakened if it fails the litmus test!

New Delhi: After the land borders, an aggressive China is increasing its military cooperation with Pakistan in the maritime domain and will remain the biggest security threat to the Indian defence establishment in the near future. To deal with this challenge, the new government will have to prepare an integrated, future-ready military force within the budget so that India can effectively counter these threats in the years to come.

China-Pakistan threat

China’s aggressive posture and its military cooperation with Pakistan, both on land and in the water, pose a serious long-term threat to India’s security. Several experts and officials told our sister newspaper The Times of India (TOI) that the new government will have to work on multiple fronts to ensure that India’s nuclear deterrence and conventional war-fighting machinery are future-ready in full harmony and the military budget does not go out of bounds in the coming years.

Military reform

In the systematic reform, it is very important to establish separate commands for the three forces, Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as to formulate a coherent national security strategy. At the same time, investment in research and development (R&D) and strengthening the defense-industrial base by collaborating with the private sector should also be the priority of Modi Government 3.0.

Resistance capacity

India will have to make every effort to increase its ability to defend against attack. For this, the number of long-range ballistic missiles, including Agni-5 with a range of more than 5,000 kilometers, will have to be increased. At the same time, its nuclear triad will have to be strengthened by expanding its fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to ensure the ability to attack from land, air and sea.

Naval expansion

India should strengthen its underwater capabilities by adding large nuclear-powered submarines (SSBNs) with long-range ballistic missiles. Currently only the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant is in service with K-15 missiles with a range of 750 kilometres. Apart from these, two more SSBNs are also expected to come into service soon.

Theatre Command

The Modi government should implement the decision to create three theatre commands. One theatre command should be for the land borders with China and Pakistan and one for the Indian Ocean region. Current conflicts such as Russia-Ukraine have also proved the operational utility of long-range precision strike weapons, so the proposed Integrated Rocket Force should also be given priority.

Make in India campaign

Despite pushing the ‘Make in India’ policy for a decade, the NDA government has not yet been able to achieve domestic manufacturing capacity for advanced military assets like fifth-generation fighter aircraft, advanced submarines and jet engines.

Strategic Partnership

A senior official said, ‘There is a need to turn away from the policy of strategic partnership (SP).’ The policy of strategic partnership was formulated in May 2017, but till date not a single project of indigenous production has been started in collaboration with any major foreign arms company.

Changes in DRDO

These military reforms are also linked to the structural reforms of DRDO proposed by the expert committee headed by Professor K Vijay Raghavan. The Modi government will have to bring radical changes in DRDO as well.

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