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READING LIST

JANUARY 2016 ISSUE

Force Magazine

Plug the Holes

Indian Army should induct latest technology to secure all its borders
 

G.P. Tripathi

It is said that the attacks by Northern invaders propelled the then Chinese rulers to create the Great Wall of China, which is the only man-made structure visible from space. Successive rulers from 202 BC to 1644 AD kept building and maintaining these walls, some of which survive even to this day and are popular tourist attraction in China. Many provincial rulers had their own walls built too. This exemplifies their historic alertness against intruders and timely preventive measures undertaken. In contrast, the passive attitude on part of the then rulers of India to their defence needs was of gross neglect. We Indians failed to plug a small valley called the Khyber Pass and allowed our treasures to be looted by invaders through this western gateway for over 1,000 years, repeatedly. Vulnerability at our western borders bleeds our nation to this day.

French soldiers in Felin gear
French soldiers in Felin gear

The recent visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India has been hailed as a historic success, which it indeed was; as approximately USD 30 billion worth agreements for projects or funds were inked including Indian endorsement of freedom of navigation in South China Sea. Major policy decisions, accommodations and concessions were exchanged by each side. One of the deals that was left in the cold and remained un-noticed was the Amphibian Aircraft project US-2. Nobody even hinted at this neglect as if it did not matter. Perhaps, with India’s current priorities it really did not fit into its defence urgencies!

Above two observations may look isolated from each other but they are closely linked and are important for our defence strategy. The bridge between these observations could form the key to challenges faced by our armed forces. Indian army of the future will have dual responsibility of safeguarding the territorial integrity of India’s huge land border in the north as well as provide supporting role to the armies of friendly countries in the Far-East as well as the nations of the African continent.

A Dynamic Army
First responsibility of our land-based armed forces is to block intruders on its 15,107 km long northern frontiers with seven neighbouring countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar) and protect its territorial integrity. The second is to come to the aid of India’s alliance partners (as the list evolves and expands) in Southeast Asia, Far-East and Africa as complementing or augmenting force imparting them multiplier effect.

Ill-equipped police force of Punjab (without bullet-proof jackets or helmets) during recent terrorist strike in Gurdaspur became source of ridicule for Punjab home-land security preparedness. Similar situation exists even for our armed forces on our borders where they operate with far from optimum technological assistance. This goes without saying that our armed forces are always full of bravery, and that has been the compensating factor for many infrastructural and strategic deficiencies.

 
 
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