Stressing that India faces the full spectrum of security challenges as it is surrounded by a difficult neighborhood, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that despite the multiple challenges, the country is well positioned to become a net provider of security and stability in the Indian Ocean region. and beyond.
“Our defense cooperation has grown and today we have unprecedented access to high technology, capital and partnerships. We have also sought to assume our responsibility for stability in the Indian Ocean region. We are therefore well positioned to become a net provider of security in our immediate region and beyond, ” he said.
The Prime Minister declared that “these challenges and opportunities should prompt a reorientation of our strategic thinking and a reassessment of the organization of the country’s high defense. It is imperative that our defense professionals remain aware of the complex environment we face and the avenues open to us as a result of the enormous transition underway in India, ” he said. said, addressing an assembly after laying the foundation stone for the Indian National Defense University (INDU) at Binola in the Gurgaon district of Haryana. Defense Minister AK Antony and senior officers from the three wings of the armed forces were present.
Warning of the multiple security challenges facing India, the prime minister said this was “inevitable as we live in a difficult neighborhood, which harbors the full range of conventional, strategic and non-traditional challenges”. He told the defense community that India is located at the strategic crossroads of Asia and straddles one of the busiest sea lanes in the world.
“We live in a networked and digital world. Our dependence on imported energy is significant and is likely to increase. We are also living at a time in history when the world is witnessing change at a scale and at a speed rarely seen before, ”said Dr Singh. However, he said that over the past nine years “our deterrent capabilities have also matured and taken concrete form.”
The prime minister said the change was most pronounced in Asia, which faced multiple security challenges due to the intersection of fragile states, internal conflicts, the proliferation of arms and terrorist groups. “The explosive development of technology is also transforming defense capabilities. As our dependence on cyber and space domains increases, new challenges will emerge, which can also take on military dimensions, ” he warned.
Noting that the nature of conflict and competition was changing as national borders were blurred by the deepening of global integration, he said, while ensuring security and defending “our homeland, we must also be prepared to preserve India’s expanding international assets ”. ‘
Dr Singh said the country was “better equipped today to deal with unconventional threats, especially in the areas of cyberspace and outer space. We are implementing a national architecture for cybersecurity and have taken steps to create an office of a national cybersecurity coordinator. ”
He said the government is making defense procurement less vulnerable to unethical practices and has developed policies to ensure the armed forces have the best equipment. “We were guided by the objective of making defense acquisition transparent, fluid, efficient and less vulnerable to practices. We will continue to strive for the highest standards of probity in acquiring defense, ”he said.
Insisting on the indigenization of defense procurement, Dr Singh said: “Our government is committed to taking further steps to stimulate the development of our national defense industry, including the Indian private sector.
The Defense University, Dr Singh said, would be a unique autonomous institution of national significance. Mr Antony said the creation of INDU shows the priority the government attaches to national security.
“INDU will foster and nurture the intellectual strength of our security concerns and meet our defense technology and management needs. It will be of international level and will be ready by 2018-2019, ” said the Minister of Defense.
INDU is the first such university in the country to focus solely on military studies and be headed by a three-star general in the rank of Army Commander or equivalent. Chief Minister of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Minister of Foreign Affairs Salman Khurshid, Minister of State for Defense Jitendra Singh were also present.
Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, who is also chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, said India’s overall readiness to counter national security threats should be assessed in terms of new combat capability as well as coherent strategic thinking. The definition of national security would continue to evolve, as would “our state of mind in a fast-paced and uncertain world”.