German general Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s remark—‘The battle is fought and decided by the quartermasters long before the shooting begins’—highlights the central role of logistics and supply chains in conflict.
The outcome of a war hinges on a country’s industrial might and ability to quickly convert technology into engineered products. India’s current strategic planning and defence acquisition suffer a lack of processes to map requirements and incorporate a realistic estimation of technology and engineering capabilities while developing a roadmap.
Arming without Aiming—the title of this 2013 book by Stephen Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta sums up the conundrum of India’s defence development and procurement process. Bureaucratic lethargy and lack of focus have left us unable to leverage our skills as an IT-ES (information technology-enabled services) powerhouse.
In stark contrast, China has not only deployed such equipment in its exercises, it has also realised the impact of this technology on operations. During the development of its aircraft carrier-killing missiles like the DF-21, it fielded an entirely new satellite navigation system, BeiDou. This also provides it enormous advantages in mountainous terrain.
Similarly, while developing technology for cyber warfare, it put its entire domestic internet behind a firewall, making it enormously difficult to attack their digital information systems.