NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday stressed the need for enhancing ‘indigenisation’ in the entire national security system, even as he reviewed the operational situation along the Pakistan and China fronts as well as the setting up of unified theatre commands in the country.
Addressing the valedictory session of the three-day Combined Commanders’ Conference (CCC) at Kevadia in Gujarat, the PM spelt out the “national security directives” for the 15-lakh strong armed forces as well as the “strategic imperatives” being faced by the country.
Modi stressed the importance of enhancing “Aatmanirbharta (self-reliance)” in the national security architecture, not just in sourcing equipment and weapons but also in the various doctrines, procedures and customs practised in the 15-lakh strong armed forces.
Towards the eventual aim of getting India out of the strategically-vulnerable position of being among the world’s largest arms importers, the government has recently finalized the Rs 47,000 crore contract for 83 indigenous Tejas fighters as well as the Rs 8,379 crore deal for 118 Arjun Mark-1A main-battle tanks.
The PM also made it clear that the “reforms agenda” in the defence arena will be firmly taken forward, while underlining the need for the armed forces to be prepared to meet all challenges with greater integration among themselves in a cost-effective manner.
As was reported by TOI earlier, two new unified tri-Service commands in the shape of the “functional” Air Defence Command and the “geographical” Maritime Theatre Command will be set up this year. They will then be followed by theatre commands along the land borders with China and Pakistan for a greater integrated military punch, as part of the biggest-ever restructuring underway in the armed forces.
Urging the armed forces to think about various reforms that would make them even stronger, the PM emphasized the need to optimise manpower planning in both military and civilian parts of the national security architecture.
There should be “a holistic approach” focused on “breaking down civil-military silos” and on expediting the speed of decision making, he said, advising the Army, Navy and IAF “to rid themselves of legacy systems and practices that have outlived their utility and relevance”.
Conveying his appreciation for the “resolute dedication” shown by the armed forces in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and the “challenging situation” on the northern borders with China, he stressed the need for them to develop into “a future force” with the requisite infusion of cutting-edge military technologies in the years ahead.
The CCC was held at a time when Indian and Chinese troops are yet to disengage at the remaining “friction points” of Gogra, Hot Springs, Demchok and Depsang Plains in eastern Ladakh.
At the CCC on Friday, defence minister Rajnath Singh had said India’s “proactive and resolute responses” had led to the troop disengagement with China on both sides of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh as well as the fresh ceasefire agreement with Pakistan last month.