NEW DELHI: India is witnessing trailers of future conflicts and its adversaries will continue with efforts to achieve their strategic aims, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane said on Thursday delving into the national security challenges emanating from China and Pakistan.
In an address at an online seminar, he said India is facing “unique, substantial and multi-domain” security challenges and that developments on the northern borders have adequately underscored the requirement of ready and capable forces.
Without naming China and Pakistan, the Chief of Army Staff said that the disputed borders with nuclear-capable neighbours coupled with state-sponsored proxy war were stretching the security apparatus and the resources.
“We are witnessing trailers of future conflicts. These are being enacted daily on the information battlefield, in the networks and cyberspace. They are also being played along unsettled and active borders,” he said.
“It is for us now to visualise the battlefield contours of tomorrow based on these trailers. If you look around, you will realise the reality of today,” he said.
The Army Chief said the developments on the northern borders have adequately underscored the requirement of ready and capable forces with an optimal component of boots on the ground backed by modern technology to preserve the country’s sovereignty and integrity.
“Our adversary shall continue with their efforts to achieve their strategic aims…sort of conflict by use of grey zone activities in the political, military and economic domains, and do so in a collusive manner,” he said.
“The events of 2020 have been testimony to the diversity of security threats in all domains and this has brought the spotlight towards non-contact and grey zone warfare. We need to augment capabilities in both non-contact and contact modes of warfare,” he said referring to the eastern Ladakh face-off.
In an oblique reference to China, he also said that some nations are challenging the globally accepted norms and the rules-based order.
This, he said, has manifested in various forms that included aggression and opportunistic actions to change the “status quo” keeping the threshold below all-out war.
Gen Naravane said the developments in Afghanistan have again brought to focus the use of proxies and non-state actors to decisive effect.
“These actors thrive on local conditions, innovatively exploit low-cost options to devastating impact and create conditions that limit the full use of sophisticated capabilities which are available to state,” he said.
He also said that the process of integration of three services through theaterisation is already moving ahead under a time-bound plan and the Indian Army is totally committed to this transformation.
Gen Naravane said the Army is focusing on restructuring, re-balancing and reorienting its forces and the process has already been initiated.
“We are further consolidating our operational experiences to these changes and this shall remain a work in progress,” he added.