India's five biggest defence challenges in 2021 - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Stuff.

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Friday, 1 January 2021

India's five biggest defence challenges in 2021


To my invariably well-informed readership... a question from me.


What would you say are India's five greatest defence challenges in the year ahead. I would appreciate your considered responses. If could elaborate briefly, I'd be even more grateful.




29 comments:

  1. I don't think our challenges have changed dramatically this year. Our challenges have been the same for a while now.
    1. Deter an increasingly belligerent China which has the technological/economic advantage.
    2. Right size the defense forces with more money going towards the most effective firepower.
    3. Find ways to reduce the amounts being spent on pensions.
    4. Establish a robust private sector that is capable of R&D and supplying the needs of the defense forces.
    5. Privatize/Disinvest defence PSU's and OFB's and initiate the DARPA'ization of the DRDO.

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  4. 1. Lack of defined borders - The inability of political leadership to define India's borders is taking a big toll on AF. J&K, North East are fine examples. The lack of political will to take up this fight to the enemy or concede lands lost is taking a big toll on the forces. AF work to attain a defined pol objective that has got to have a physical outline aka borders.

    2. communications & SOP - the case in point being the Abhinandan aircraft being shotdown as he was jammed out. Then the Hopter being lost in friendly fire. The first instance was due to on obsolete communications platforms we are on & latter on SOP blunder.

    3. Learn from mistakes - we lost a hopter in Kargil '99 as it went into ops without flares, thus falling prey to a SAM. Had SOPs been followed this would not have happened. Nothing learnt from there and hence 20 years on the avoidable losses post Balakot.

    4. Open aviation and maritime sectors to private players - the colonial setup of control over manufacture of defense equipment to be sole domain of govt has to be given up. Private players are critical not only to expedite but also bring in cutting edge tech to def production.

    5. Proactive & not reactive procurement- def equipment has to procured before the current equipment & weapons retire. IAF shortfall, Howitzer, aircraft carriers, submarines one of many such examples. Take the politics out of

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  5. Would posit an answer in a different vein

    Both the Indian National Security Establishment and the larger Nat Sec Ecosystem lack the competence expected from a sophisticated and modern nation. This is the fundamental thing that needs fixing. Indigenization, deterrence or winning wars all comes as a consequence of competence.

    Competence cannot come without accountability. Easier said than done, the US struggles with it as well.

    Creating a culture where the Nat Sec Ecosystem starts demanding answers in the public domain, not just from the politicians but also the holy cow that is the military leadership is the first step in the process.

    Invoking secrecy to cover up misdeeds/missteps can no longer be the default option. For this a select bunch of "mature" defence journalists and experts not the ones who pander to the keyboard warriors will have to "unify" and have a "Pentagon Papers" moment.

    Once this Rubicon has been crossed, and a good precedent set, hopefully the Indian taxpayer will start treating the Nat Sec Establishment for what it is - a service provider paid to keep its citizens and their interests safe and which must suffer the consequences for failure to do so.

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  6. NSR says ---

    My five best and important challenges are -

    1. Biggest Intelligence acquisition and analysis failures, lessons learned and improvements through launch of additional high resolution, ISR, RF, and infrared satellites to monitor both fronts...
    Real heads must roll ... not low level officers...

    2. India must immediately evict criminal chinese communists and its depraved PLAGF from Depsang Plains/DBO areas...
    This is the main prize china attacked India and refuses to discuss..
    Loss of these areas will bring in loss of Dabruk/DBO highway and an existential crisis to India from which it is hard to recover...
    Doklam and Doklam II are complete...
    2021 will bring a massive Doklam III in this area...

    3. Firmly seizing and holding all of Kailash Mountain ranges which were Indians from time immemorial...
    From these ranges, India can execute a war plan to evict PLAGF past Sirijap where India used to have a base in Indo-Tibetan era...
    Plans must be made to permanent habitation of these heights...

    4. India must cut Tibet to Sinkiang Highway as soon as possible to disrupt complete logistics of chinese PLAGF si Aksai Hind ( hate using Aksai Chin) immediately...
    Longer India waits more difficult it will be to do so...

    5. Indian Navy is weak inspite of all morale boosting news lately...
    IN needs immediate acquisition of ATAS, MH-60R helicopters, NUHs, long range Russian naval missiles (India is MTCR member so no restrictions on ranges), AMDs for ships, etc

    Indian Air Force badly needs to sign that damned Tejas IA contract to replace Mig-21s..
    Arming this with Astra I RF & IR, and Astra IING, host of bombs will make it a formidable choice to replace Mig-21s/...

    Indian Army badly needs the Howitzers...
    Empty the FOREX and buy as many Sig Sauer assault rifles as needed on an urgent basis... these rifles shoots straight and true...
    Give contracts to every public and private Howitzer projects and start deploying...
    Fix problems as they develop in manufacturing process...
    Do not wait at all...

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  7. Hi Ajai, here goes - from my point of view China or Pakistan is not the issue, our main Defense Challenges are internal - our MoD is the most potent weapon in our adversaries' arsenals

    1. The Defence Procurement Process - unlike the Pakistanis or Chinese, ours takes forever,the main reason being the fear of decision making by the bureaucracy - in case they are made fall guys by politicians. A suggested cure is to make the leader of the opposition an empowered part of the process and make brokers legit.
    2. Changing our army from a WW2 force with a few new toys to a lean networked force up to date with the latest tactics and equipment. If every jawan was at least Class 12, he could absorb new technology better and we would need less numbers - not such an issue with IN and IAF
    3. Developing critical technologies - AESA, Gen-5 fighter, a fighter engine, a home made assault rifle and battle tank, a Nasr-busting SAM, etc etc - without discounting the progress from a zero base achieved - we have a lot to do. We are in a unique position where the US, Europe, Russia and Israel want to sell us hi-tech stuff - taking advantage of it to leap-frog to match China a true challenge
    4. The mounting salaries and pension expense eating the defence budget
    5. The terrible integration of our silo'd forces - we must figure a smart and practical way to integrate operations of all three forces - the integrated air defence move is a good start

    However if you meant defense challenges posed by adversaries:
    1. Chinese LAC land-grab
    2. Chinese maritime challenge
    3. Usual asymmetric warfare from next door #terrorism
    4. Making Quad work without upsetting Russia
    5. Insurgency - NE, J & K, Maoist etc

    regards,
    Parshu Narayanan

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  8. 1. Resolving the confrontation with China
    2. Bleeding of squadron strength of IAF
    3. Picking the supplier of the next submarine type for P75I
    4. Picking the supplier for the 57 aircraft for the IN
    5. Progress on creating theater commands with actual teeth

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  9. 1.surge in the strength of afghan taliban(u.s.pullout) and its closeness with pakistan millitary leadership may further instigate kashmir.
    2.To cope up with technological advancement of chinese unnmanned combat vehicles weaponory
    3.To prevent pakistan from misusing khalistani elements against the domestic farm laws which had tangible impact on punjab population.
    4.Russia getting more closer to china and pakistan
    5.to keep balance between war readiness and indeginisation.

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  10. Internal
    1. (Dis)stressed Indian Economy resulting in poor budget allocation.
    2. Social and Federal instability and Unhinged support of local population in conflict areas (read border areas), related to internal dimensions
    3. Inadequacy of critical war-fighting machinery, especially in the disruptive technology domain of AI, Space, drones, unmanned assests.
    External
    1. Continued hostility (including verbal) with Pak, with nil efforts to even attempt it, view domestic compulsions, resulting in Pak-China tango.
    2. QUAD vs Indo-Russia relationship, though one has to for new administration in US to make its first move, indications are world - EU; East Asian - not ready to punish or sanction China for its discretions, COVID19 included, in neighbourhood nations, including India ; and continue as normal business.

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  11. 1. Unified objective: As a tax paying ordinary citizen I am do not see the three forces, political parties, IAS and IFS brass having a unified short + medium + long term policy of using hard power for the national cause.
    2. Man power intensive and focused: Again from a road view, it looks like the defense establishment is a sarkari raj being maintained for purposes other than achieving tangible outcomes for the state using hard power. This means much of the budgeted money goes into salaries and pensions.
    3. Limited capex budget: We do not seem to have enough money to procure competent hardware in sufficient quantity within time to make it relevant to state power. Will have to shift away frpm being man intensive and may be sell defense land close to cities to arrange money for hardware and integrate them into operation and training curriculum in time. Imminent consequences otherwise.
    4. Time taken to procure: The political and IAS brass is not sensitive to the fact that military platforms and systems are developed, tested and integrated in an agile manner in 21st century. Procurement takes for ever and by the time induction is done the system is half obsolete.
    5. Lack of independent military thought that drives independent R&D and production: We need to formulate weapon system design that our security establishment requires and then be able to design, develop and produce and integrate then into our forces and their operation. Unmanned platforms, EW systems and AI augmented systems beg for such R&D. Rest of the basic stuff can be either jointly developed and procured (engagements with IAI best example) or outright purchase based on scale. We seems to keep shopping for systems made by west or Russia or copy paste R&D of such systems. We need to design systems on our owm.

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    Replies
    1. Couldn't resist the temptation to elaborate
      How challenges #1, #4 and #5 can form a perfect storm.
      India's attempt at artillery caliber rationalization and MRCA acquisition are based on GSQR that are at least 2 decades old. In the meantime technology changed. Artillery now needs to deploy, fire its salvo and move before the shells impact target. Otherwise they may be hunted by counter artillery or drones. Yet we persist with the idea of acquiring towed artillery. Any piece of heavy artillery that we acquire now should have the capacity to auto-load 3-4 salvos (each salvo 3 shells and 3 charges) and then deploy, fire and scoot away without soldier having to dismount from the protected cabin. Again the MRCA has been persisted with the idea that we need 42 squadrons to be effective in the meantime technologies like AEW, Mid-air refueling, airborne ISR, drones and stand off weaponry advanced and became available. But we are still hell bent on 42 squadrons, in the meanwhile Mirage 2000 production line slipped away and Rafale already finished 18 years of service in the French Air force. We are attempting to procure ASW corvette and minesweepers again based on a age old GSQR. At least to protect out ports and harbors from enemy subs and mines we could think about unmanned seaborne platforms that carry the sensors and to warn us about the presence of these in the vicinity. The proliferation of standoff weapons including drones and cruise missiles means that our costly hardware - Apache, Rafale and Sukhoi hangars, destroyers and frigates, and brigade/division HQ has to be protected by point defense systems possibly a variant of the active protection system developed for tanks. Point being our GSQR based process has to be able to adapt to agile development of technologies.

      Delete
  12. Thanks very much, from me to all of you who have posted.

    Those who haven't..... do rack your brain and pick up your pens please.

    Ajai

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  13. Thanks for inviting views, Ajai..... and our gratitude for another year of your high-quality writing. The year past saw you holding the government and military to account on the Ladakh imbroglio in a most objective, commendable manner - a real service to the nation.

    Here is my list of the top 5 defence-related challenges for 2021...or what I believe the priorities ought to be:

    1. Securing an acceptable on-ground demarcation of the LAC with China, and thereafter an honourable dis-engagement. Failing that, dealing a military blow to the PLA sufficiently painful and embarrassing so as to demonstrate to them that further belligerence will come at too great a cost.

    2. Taking the annulment of Article 370 to its logical end by securing a political settlement within J&K in a way that satisfies Kashmiri aspirations, ending militancy ..... and permitting the Indian military to focus on the eventual end game with Pakistan - one that secures a settlement of the border, if necessary via the use of military force to take all or parts of PoK.

    3. Derailing the China-Pak linkage via PoK through covert actions and fomenting further unrest within Pakistan; the latter to a degree such that, by year end, a full-blown armed Baloch separatist movement is put on a definite path to its eventual success.

    4. Making the military ready to fight and win a major war. This means finding the funds to undertake long-overdue procurement of equipment, despite the crippling blow to the economy from COVID 19. Accompanied by the rapid placement of procurement contracts to plug critical deficiencies in combat equipment, chiefly: additional fighter squadrons, submarines, naval helicopters, towed sonar for existing warships, torpedoes, mine-hunter vessels and armament for indigenously developed attack helicopters including Rudra and the LCH.

    5. Imparting a major impetus to the following indigenous armament programs in particular : Tejas Mk 2, so as to ensure entry into service by 2025; the AMCA soon thereafter; the SSN submarines; amphibious assault ships; and large-scale induction of Arjun Mk 2 tanks.

    Having written up the above, one must admit the list appears more fantasy than attainable goals, given the state of affairs within our defence establishment. All I can say is that hope springs eternal.

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  14. With the signing of BECA and given our increasing ties with western powers , China will be the greatest threat for India in the coming years , of course pakistan will remain our all time enemy in the Kashmir region but now China will also be a party to it indirectly. Owing to the incidents that happened at the LAC this year, a war with China in the long run cannot be ruled out. The LAC will have to be strongly guarded like the loc we cannot afford to loose more territory. Given the Fascination of our govt and army generals with two front war idea ,we need to gear up for the same as it is not going to be easy. Anti terrorism operations should be assigned to the paramilitary and army should only focus on war and interoperability with the other two forces. There needs to be more investment in disruptive technologies as nature of war is changing , modern war is going to be fought in space , electromagnetic spectrum and in cyber domains. Domination in all these domains is essential to deter the enemy from escalating. All these years we only focused on pakistan but it’s high time we look east.

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  15. Anonymous:

    1. Developing a bi-partisan strategic culture in the political class. Leadership too often still thinks of past wars

    2. Moving from viewing the armed forces (especially the army) as an employment scheme to a lean fighting force that is aligned with the country's strategic interest.

    3. Pulling the trigger on a G2G deal on 100+ Rafales and F-18s (Navy) even leasing them if needed. Let the Tejas Mk1/A play out, go straight to AMCA. Chuck the MK2 and TEDBF and other nonense. No margin for peripheral projects

    4. Order more Scorpenes, resist temptation to put out unrealistic SQRs

    5. Bust the inter service rivalry. One integrated force

    4. Ditto on

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  16. National security goes beyond the military. Challenges can be economic, social, diplomatic and political too. Here are big challenges India is facing and will continue to face.

    1. Ramp up economic growth that has fallen. It is the economic engine that can bring in tax revenues for military.

    2. Various sections of the population have been marginalized of late. A more inclusive social policy is needed. It will reduce the burden on the State to allocate scarce resources to social problems.

    3. Continue to keep diplomatic pressure up against both Pak and China. Pakistan should be blacked listed for terrorism. And China's aggression in Tibet, Sinkiang and neighbors condemned by all major powers.

    4. Show large heartedness towards India's smaller neighbors Sri Lanka, Ceylon and Nepal so that they do not fall in China's lap.

    5. Create avenues for members of the civil service to specialize in defence. A miniscule number attend the DSSC Wellington course. Many can attend the War College courses too and get educated in defence issues.

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  17. 1. Creating accountability in research, development, planning and acquisitions. Those cycles are too long.
    2. Iterative development is the way to go instead of a perfect product the first time. World is moving towards agile in development of new technologies for faster and better products. However, it is all waterfall in India.
    3. Nature of warfare is changing dramatically. Think of the recent Armenian vs. Azerbaijan conflict. Drones and AI driven swarms are the future and India is nowhere on the scene. Buying those from outside will not solve it. Learn from Turkey and China in this space, or India would be in for a very unpleasant surprise.
    4. No country can fight a prolonged conflict with imported weaponry. A country of the size of India does not even have its own indigenous standardized rifle/arms systems that its own military would accept. DRDO developed systems in this space are a joke. India should completely open this space to private competition.
    5. Corruption is endemic in the procurement system within Indian defense organizations. Requirements and rules are often created based on wishlists severed from reality (pie in the sky) or to favor a pre-selected vendors. This needs to be cleaned up but that is easier said than done.
    6. Pretty soon sub-sonic or even supersonic kinetic weapons, missiles would be outdated by guided energy weapons taking over the battlefields and shooting targets out of sky and space at the speed of light. There is no sign that those technologies are coming out from DRDO labs any time soon.
    7. Better avionics, cybersecurity, hardened interference resistant electronics, EMP based electronic offense capabilities, better, more secure and redundant communication infrastructure. All this will require better planning and investments from Indian establishment.

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  18. 1] To grasp the long term trends and align India to them.
    2] To avoid falling into the trap of alignment with the USA which would set India against the tide of history and the trends of our time.
    3] To avoid focusing on events and ignoring the trends, using outdated frameworks that have repeatedly failed those who devised them promote them and will fail India too.
    4] To understand India's strengths and weaknesses truthfully, to build India by uniting India and unleashing the potential of its people and not tethering them to the delusional strategies of a declining powers.

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  19. Credible air defense against swarm drones in case theatre commands are formed?

    Define well demarcated borders with China

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  20. Thanks for inviting comments, Ajai. I am an economist, and enjoy reading your blog from time to time. My comments are not strictly military in nature (as I'm not a defense expert!), but I would say the 5 most important things India ought to focus on in the coming year:

    First, dramatically speed up procurement and indigenization and even exports of weaponry. India is the world’s 5th largest economy in nominal USD terms (3rd largest, adjusted for purchasing power parity) yet it is the second largest importer of arms (after Saudi). What’s more 60%+ of imports are reliant on Russia, which may not be a secure or reliable source going forward. In any case India’s economy is now more than twice the size of Russia’s, and we can’t take care of our basic defense needs? India not only needs to speed up procurement and indigenization, but also needs to back it up with much greater private sector participation to broaden the industrial base of the defense sector and begin exporting weapons in a big way which opens the sector to world market competition. This will also completely turn an important drain of import payments and fiscal spending into a source of fiscal/corporate revenue and export receipts.

    Second, as some folks here have mentioned, leave no stone unturned to develop indigenous drone and AI-based swarm technologies in a big way. This simply shouldn’t be imported, as indigenous development should set up the R&D base and eco-system, and network effects, much required for maintaining technological supremacy in this area and securing our border areas. The Armenia-Azeri conflict was an eye opener, and India should not delay things further or merely rely on imports.

    Third, use our growing prowess in digitalization to go on the offensive in cyber-space. This is an area which has been underutilized for exacting retaliation on Pakistan, for its constant provocations, and against China for its own cyber-attacks on India. Israeli hackings of Iranian nuclear facilities are a key case in point. This is also an important source for gathering information and keeping the enemy off balance and complementing cyber-activity with drone-based surveillance or even mounting counter-attacks on terrorist installations or, if needed, CPEC choke points in disputed areas of POK.

    Fourth, co-opt the Biden administration (and Israel) to massively enhance technology transfers and which facilitates defense indigenization (as suggested in points 1 and 2, above) in exchange for acceding to pressure on the CAATSA front; and deepen military relations with the QUAD+Indonesia to, move beyond diplomatic signaling, and prepare realistically for all eventualities.

    Fifth, beef up the Indian Navy and the Andaman Islands naval base to ---move beyond diplomatic posturing and--- underscore the inevitability of the ‘Malacca Trap’ should China turn more aggressive in the Himalayas, or gang-up with Pakistan in confronting India in Kashmir or elsewhere, or challenge or attack other friendly-democratic nations in the South China Sea.

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  21. 1.Lack of defined borders and poor infrastructure even after 73 years of independence. Defence neglected.
    2. Arms procurement is too shoddy. Treated as a honeypot .
    3. The recruitment of young, disciplined men when they retire to various Govt departments not happening , hence this stupidity leading to big defence pension bills.
    4. Poor execution of defence orders by PSU and the protection they get. Need to privatise them.
    5. DRDO and IIT s have failed in innovation ,lagging behind in ideas and execution.



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  22. I don't know about five things but here's one that can be done pretty quickly and would have an immediate impact:

    The Rafale deal calls for Rs 36000 crore in offsets. That is about $7.2 billion. se that order more Rafales in flyway condition. I'm guessing that could be another 40/44 ac.

    Offsets like 'ToT' are a mirage (no pun intended). They run up the unit cost without doing anything except feeding PSUs. Same thing with Boeing and LM. Unused offsets could be repurposed for more units (P8I, C-130s) and further leveraged through leases.

    Let's face it, there is no money in the kitty and the above might be quick ways of building capability without touching the union budget.

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  23. On the Rafale offsets^^,the usd value is more like $5bn not 7.2bn.

    One other point I forgot to mention earlier is that using these offsets for more Rafales gets India off the hook to reconsider the MMRCA flying circus it previously rejected. P

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  24. Ajai - Thanks for all your diligent and sophisticated reporting on defense, and elevating the politico-techno-military strategic conversation to the next level in the public domain. I have learnt enormously from reading your work over the years.

    Five things that keep me awake -
    1) Information warfare - The military and national security establishment need to develop a more sophisticated information warfare strategy for both offensive and defensive purposes. Modern battles are fought on perception and this particular medium is an example of warfare being waged even in "peacetime" by our adversaries
    2) Accountability and transparency at the MOD - The public perception of the MOD is one of lethargic, incompetent, self-serving bureaucrats who do not have the nation's interest at heart. This is obviously not the complete or accurate picture. How can we as citizens better understand the functioning of the MOD, the challenges they face and hold them accountable for the defense of the nation?
    3) Sub-surface defense - While we have quickly built up capabilities to counter sub-surface threats through assets like the P8I, ASW Corvettes, Indo-Japanese SOSUS nets, the upcoming MH60 Romeos etc., we are still vulnerable without enough submarines - SSKs and SSNs. Further, how can we build up this capability without wasting the expertise gained by MDL with the Scorpene program without being beholden to only producing more Scorpenes?
    4) Digital warfare - How do we bring our assets and our doctrine to the 21st century? We seem to be caught naked without adequate SIGINT, sensor, EW, ECM, ECCM, datalink and jamming technologies across our platforms. It appears that our communications are not sufficiently encrypted and configurable (SDNs etc.). Do we have a strategic focus in acquiring these technologies domestically or through partnerships? Hard assets are simply insufficient in the modern battlefield without digital technologies
    5) Special forces - As recent challenges have demonstrated, our special forces play an outsized role in our modern conflicts. Are we systematically growing our SF footprint while investing in them to keep them at par with the best in the world? Are they stretched too thin across all the demands placed on them today?

    Looking forward to your thoughts and analysis on these aspects.

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  25. I have not worked in the defence field so lack any proper knowledge of the system but from outside having grown up in border areas and seriously concerned about our responses to threats have been reading/discussing the issues related to the defence of India.

    Our men in the forces are the best but they need to be backed with a clear policy, hardware and inputs backed by a strong and harmonious nation. I feel that the long term primary threats are due to our lack of clarity and muddled/slow implementation. This could be due to limitations of economic resources available with the planners. In my assessment the main challenges to India's defence are:

    1. Clarity in the objective of India's defence----are we only defending our borders? I am sure strategist would have worked our various scenarios and keep evolving.
    2. Internal security and harmony. Too many divisive forces are active due to political, economic and historical-geographical reasons.
    3. Make Government and Defence forces less bureaucratic. Its easier said than done; but it has affected innovation, up-gradation, decision making.
    4. Futuristic technology development and use especially with regard to intelligence and hardware. Our R&D and acquisitions are so slow and lethargic.
    5. Being realistic.

    One issue which has bothered me a lot during Kargil, why couldn't we have used missiles at those hilltops instead of depending on physical assault and sacrificing a lot of brave men? There was an impression that India had developed various kind of missiles but probably these were never good enough for this specific use. It then becomes useless if we haven't been able to use technology developed. This reflects some gap somewhere. Maybe its a silly issue out of my ignorace.

    Arvind Srivastava

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  26. 1. Top priority of the govt and the military establishment should be future warfare domains, Cyberwar, space warfare, spectrum and integration or future technologies to integrated battle groups. India is lagging there. I would request you Ajai to share your thoughts on this , on this blog.
    2. Have a clear approach towards Chinese policy and Pakistanis, have to be lot more proactive
    3. Focus on defence manufacturing a lot , steps should be taken to privatize OFBs, involve more private players , focus on export. I think this govt is more serious about this.
    4. In my view with my limited knowledge , there needs to be a shift in military establishment doctrine , or shift in thought on approaching modern day challenges, and have to focus on 5-6th generation warfare , still there is turf battles between services and we don't see proper jointness between them
    5. And of course we need to focus on more advanced technologies and induction of more future oriented platforms into our system, be it's awacs ,5-6th gen fighters, rafales, subs, or BMS for army.

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  27. My comment is on IAF and IN.
    (1) IAF shall not waste money on fighter planes. DRONES, DRONES and DRONES alone shall win next war.
    (2) IN shall have all necessary attack role (not just defend role). China engage India on land border but win on ocean!! In Leh, its a stalemate. No point wasting money there (on Army); except anything needed to keep troop's morale high.

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  28. If talking about threats/conflicts :
    1. China - After weak/corrupt Biden's win, china will flex muscles. Full Indo-china border (be it LAC or north-East militancy), is open to conflicts . Indian ocean will also be highly active.
    2. terroristan - pak will re-direct its terrorist groups more and more from afpak region to J&K. their other anti-India efforts will also see a jump.
    3. India's exteremist communists will create internal turmoil/disruptions.

    And India's general challenges in the defense field:
    4. Reform the military. Smaller for starters.
    5. Build serious alliances with Quad, Vietnam, France etc.

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