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MARCH 2014 ISSUE


We have gone through our transformation process which has to do with trying to configure the armed forces for the future… (which) we hope is not for all sort of expeditionary operations
UK minister for international security strategy, Andrew Murrison
 
Andrew Murrison What is the main agenda this time during your India visit?
I am here as the latest in a long line of ministerial engagement at the top level, starting of course with Prime Minister David Cameron. The UK is very keen to engage with India. We share a long history together. We in the UK have come to terms with what the security scenario would be like at the end of this year when we move out of Afghanistan. We are working out defence engagements with countries that we feel comfortable with, have a lot in common and can operate in. India particularly is in the premier league of those nations. Hence the interest you have experienced from the UK government ministers and higher echelons of our armed forces over the past three years.

As a part of your defence engagement strategy, have you met or are you planning to meet National Security Advisor (NSA) here? Could you tell us a bit about your defence engagement strategy with India keeping Afghanistan in mind?
We have gone through our transformation process which has to do with trying to configure the armed forces for the future. A future that we hope is not for all sort of expeditionary operations that we have had in the recent past. We have to work with partners and allies. We are hosting, for example, the summit at Wales at the end of this year. It will focus on how we address security challenges of the future. That probably means designing our armed forces in a different way and that really is what lies at the heart of the transformation.

It’s especially true of the army; we have made some structural changes to the army that we think will better address those emerging security threats. And you will know a little bit about the adaptable and reactive force elements that we are introducing which lie at the heart of our reserve forces and are a major part of the mix. It means looking at where we think the threat is going to come from. So, piracy and terrorism have to be addressed. Also, we have to look at cyber warfare which many of us are trying to work out and see what that means, where the threat is coming from and how we can work out a doctrine around things like cyber since it doesn’t exist at the moment. It is completely a novel dimension to threats that we might face.

Transformation essentially involves two things - focus on non-traditional threats and the second part that you said, and it is a bit strange that the UK does not see itself in expeditionary campaigns.
That’s not quite what I said. I said that I hope that we won’t be involved in expeditionary forces.

But you have to prepare for that.
We have to have adaptable forces; forces that are able to face contingencies. But I think we have to make some intelligent guesses about what the future might hold for us.
 
 
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