Wellington:India’s Minister for Defence Rajnath Singh has said that India has the strength and capacity to end terror on its own soil, but if need arises we will not hesitate to target and strike terror even on foreign soil.
The Defence Minister was delivering the keynote address to the 77th Staff Course at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) at Wellington on Sunday August 29. He described the situation in Afghanistan as challenging and pointing to the changing equations stated that it has forced every country to think about its strategy – “QUAD, a group of India, Australia, America and Japan, has been formed in this background.
Singh emphasised the need to view every dimension of national security in one frame in the present times and expressed the hope that DSSC will train and equip the future officers of the Armed Forces to deal with these challenges.
The Defence Minister said ever since Independence, some evil forces have used all methods to destabilise the country, but the Armed Forces have ensured that the unity and integrity of the country is maintained. “When our neighboring country realised that it cannot fight a front-war with us, it resorted to proxy war and made terrorism an integral part of its state policy. This was a major paradigm shift in the challenges faced by our country. Keeping this in mind, we brought about major changes in our security related policies. He emphatically said “We have developed a pro-active attitude against the menace of terrorism”.
Drawing attention to cross-border strikes on terror camps, Singh said these strikes changed the reactionary mindset into proactive mindset. “Despite the challenges on India’s border, the people are now confident that there will be no compromise on national security. India has the strength and capacity to end terror on its own soil, but if need arises we will not hesitate to target and strike terror even on foreign soil. This change of policy defines a new era of national security in India,” he added.
On the 2020 Galwan Valley incident, the Raksha Mantri said the unilateral attempt to change the status-quo at the Northern border was dealt with a new dynamic approach. “Our soldiers displayed bravery as well as restraint, when they had to thwart the enemy plans,” he said, lauding the exemplary courage of the Indian Army personnel, under the leadership of Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane, for effectively dealing with the situation at the Northern border, Singh assured the Nation that the security forces are fully committed to face any enemy, at any time, in any situation and protect the country in every way. Rajnath Singh also paid tributes to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the service of the Nation.
Sharing his insights on cyber warfare and biological attacks, Singh said the perception of linking national security to geographical boundaries has changed and the alignment & re-alignment of global powers add to the already changing security challenges. He stated that the Government is making all efforts to develop capabilities to deal with these new and emerging threats to national security.
Singh also asserted that India, despite its capabilities, has never attacked any country till date and has always considered the whole world as its family. This is the spirit of our neighborhood first policy, he said, adding that India has always been proactive in helping the neighboring countries in humanitarian relief work during disasters. However, he made it clear that while India believes in peace, it has always been ready at all fronts. He reiterated the Government’s resolve to protect the country from all kinds of external and internal threats.
Singh said, “We will continue to strengthen our military and ensure that we are a step ahead to deal with any challenge arising out of the changing global security environment”.
On the modernisation of Armed Forces, the Raksha Mantri said, the induction of Rafale ended the long wait for Next Generation Aircraft. He added that Arjun Main Battle Tank, Light Utility Helicopter, developing counter measure systems for Armored Fighting Vehicles and modernisation of Air Defence guns are other steps taken to modernise our military.
On the creation of Joint Commands, Shri Rajnath Singh termed the decision as another major structural reform, the progress of which is progressing rapidly, he said. “With the formation of Integrated Theater Commands, Armed Forces will have to develop Integrated Operational Concepts and Doctrines to fight jointly. I think DSSC can prove to be a good platform for brain storming on this issue,” he added.
The Raksha Mantri termed Army Headquarters Restructuring as an important part of defence structural reforms. “The aim to increase the teeth to tail ratio of our army, bring decentralisation in decision making and create a future oriented leaner force. Integration of ‘DGMO’ and ‘DGMI’ under Deputy Chief of Strategy is one such example. This integration at the Headquarter level will bring great precision in our operational planning,” he added.
Singh also spoke about renaming Master General of Ordinance into Master General of Sustenance and consideration of ‘Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs)’ that will pave way for quicker decision making. “Integrated battle groups will be new groups to fight unified against the enemies. The idea of ‘Tour of Duty’ will turn into a game changing reform in the future making the Armed Forces more agile. Permanent commission for women officers in defence is a step to increase the role of women in national security,” he said.
To achieve ‘AatmaNirbhar Abhiyan’ as envisioned by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Shri Rajnath Singh said several steps have been taken to promote self-reliance in defence manufacturing. These include setting up of Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh & Tamil Nadu; notifying two Positive Indigenisation Lists; launch of Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020 and transfer of technology free of cost from Defence Research & Development Organisation and unveiling of Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) to encourage innovation and technology development in defence.
Highlighting the role of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Raksha Mantri said HAL has been given a one-time order of about Rs 50,000 crore from the Armed Forces in addition to the export orders. The percentage of domestic procurement in the fund allocated for defence modernisation has been increased to 64.09 per cent. Shri Rajnath Singh called for proactive involvement of the Armed Forces, saying that active participation from the defence services is needed for these reforms to bear fruit.
The Defence Mantri appreciated the unique role of DSSC in nurturing the future leadership of the three Services of India and the officers from friendly foreign countries. He complimented the student officers for having been selected after a rigorous selection process to train at the DSSC and encouraged them to make most of this unique opportunity to widen their mental horizons and understanding of warfare.
He appreciated the transformative changes made in the training of the young officers from India & aboard at the Institute and aligning the professional military education imparted to them to deal with the emerging challenges to national security. He also interacted with the officers of Armed Forces. Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Mukund Naravane Lieutenant General MJS Kahlon were present on the occasion.