January 29, 2017 9:16:16 pm
Former Air Marshal K C Cariappa on Sunday emphasised on the need to have a “practical” national security doctrine and a “robust” nuclear policy to “reassure citizens that appropriate measures are in place to protect them.” Speaking at the second Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon memorial lecture at Ahmedabad, he said a strategic defence doctrine should be put in place and endorsed by all political parties.
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“We do not have a national security doctrine. The existence of such a document will dissuade adventurism and will reassure our citizens that appropriate measures are in place to protect us,” Cariappa said.
“A credible message must be conveyed to our people. A practical national security strategy and robust nuclear policy must be endorsed by all political parties,” the former Air Marshal said.
Cariappa said the need for such a doctrine is necessary in the face of having a nuclear-armed neighbour, Pakistan.
“They have created forces that destabilise our society by encouraging traditional antagonism… we need to tailor our strategic defence doctrine to create long-term measures towards a deterrent based on severe retribution as there can be no scope for indecisiveness,” he said.
Speaking on the need for a robust nuclear policy, Cariappa suggested that India’s nuclear forces must be placed under a strategic forces commander, who will be answerable to the Prime Minister, and will be the ultimate authority to launch the first strike in foreign territory.
“A command control and communication centre must be built. Our targeting philosophy must be involved and redirected to two notices, but yet the message must be loud and clear that this has been done, and that in fact our targeting policy exists,” he said.
Speaking on ‘Civil Military Relations’, former Commodore C Uday Bhaskar pointed out that there exists very little contact between India’s political establishment and military, and said the Indian Parliament exhibits “almost zero interest” in matters related to defence.
“The political establishment of India does not really have interest in military or the institution. There is a reason. Much of politics is now caught up in electoral cycle and military as an institution till recently did not represent a vote bank,” he said.
The fear of “coup” led to an understanding that the military should be kept outside the structures of formal governance, he said. “The defence ministry has ensured that military is caught in a maze of rules and regulations. And my reading is that bureaucracy does ‘Yes Minister’, keeps the fear of coup alive,” Bhaskar said at the event organised by the Air Force Association’s Gujarat chapter.
“Institutionally, Indian military has been treated as an untouchable, and unfortunately, they have not found an Ambedkar till now,” he said.
Bhaskar, however, said things have changed with OROP, and with retired military personnel becoming a force to reckon with in the Punjab Assembly elections.
“There seems to be a greater degree of politicisation of military’s retired community,” he said.
Bhaskar further said the Centre is cognisant of this and is taking into consideration various recommendations including those pointed out in the Kargil Committee Report.
Meanwhile, an expert on defence procurement, Laxman Behera, who delivered a lecture on ‘Make In India and Defence Production’, said despite government making positive efforts to involve private players to engage in defence production, a lot of concerns remains which need to be addressed.
He said government sector still wins major contracts for defence manufacturing, leaving out private players who have invested in infrastructure for the same.
“From private sector perspective, although government has undertaken a lot of reforms, no major contract has come to private sector so far. The private sector is desperately waiting for major contracts. The government will have to walk the talk and award some contracts to them,” he said.
He also said the component of capital expenditure in budgetary allocation to defence should go up, as a majority of money is spent on manpower.
“Over the last several years our budget is skewed towards our manpower. More than 42 per cent is for salary and manpower, and money for modernisation is sinking day by day,” he said.
“It is either stagnant for the last four years or is declining. So hopefully when the budget is presented in February, we will see some hike in capital expenditure, or it will be very difficult to sustain ‘Make in India’,” Behera said.
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