The broad theme of my talk today, shall be “The Role of Indian Army in dealing with Contemporary National Security Challenges”. However, rather than taking you through the entire journey, I have picked on few areas, that may incite greater interest. Like building blocks of a security mosaic, these impact the future role, and shape of the Indian Army, in National Security. I shall also touch upon the contribution of the IA, towards Nation Building, especially in the contemporary context.
The world at large is slowly recovering, from a year long fight with COVID. The disruptive powers of the pandemic, have been adequately demonstrated and acknowledged. We have come to accept, that many things as we knew them, will never be the same again.
The character of war too, has been rapidly evolving. Allow me to mention here, this small, but distinct difference between, the ‘nature’ and ‘character’ of war. The nature of war in terms of, the organised nature of violence, in terms of the blood and gore, in terms of the victor, imposing his will on the vanquished, is constant and unchanging. As to how wars will be fought in terms of, weapons, technology, and the strategic context however, changes rapidly. So, while the nature of war is constant, the character keeps evolving and changing.
Just as a new clock, cannot change the nature of time itself, the rapid and transformative advances in technology, will not change the nature of war itself. Since, the nature of war is unchanging, force and violence will not disappear. They will only manifest in newer forms.
Hard power will always be relevant. It will however, have to constantly discover newer ways of being utilitarian, and adapt to the changing strategic context.
These changes will however, greatly impact as to how wars will be fought, as we have been witnessing around us. We have seen how the very imaginative, and offensive use of drones in Idlib, and then in Armenia – Azerbaijan, challenged the traditional prima donnas; the tanks, the artillery and the dug in infantry. Large platforms, which were once the mainstay of the 20th century battlefield; the Main Battle Tanks, Fighter Aircrafts & Capital Ships, have been rendered relatively less significant, in the face of emerging battlefield challenges. We have also seen how disruptive technologies, are now driving doctrinal cycles like never before. It may not be inaccurate therefore, to infer that technology itself, is steadily emerging as a core combat capability.