Wellington: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said discussions on the creation of joint commands and their implementation were progressing well and fast, indicating that differences between stakeholders on the theaterisation model are being addressed and India is on course to set up theatre commands.
“With the creation of theatre commands, the Indian armed forces will have to develop integrated operational concepts and doctrine for joint war-fighting,” Singh said. His comments came during a talk on Defence Reforms in Shifting National Security Paradigm at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Tamil Nadu.
Last month, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria flagged concerns about the theaterisation model, arguing that it was critical to first get the structure right, even as chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat gave out details of the plan to achieve jointness and brushed aside the reservations.
In June, the government formed an eight-member panel under Rawat to fine-tune the theaterisation plans and bring all stakeholders on board, especially the IAF, for a speedy roll-out of new joint structures.
On the modernisation of Armed Forces, Defence minister said, the induction of Rafale ended the long wait for Next Generation Aircraft. He added that Arjun Main Battle Tank, Light Utility Helicopter, developing counter measure systems for Armored Fighting Vehicles and modernisation of Air Defence guns are other steps taken to modernise our military.
To achieve ‘AatmaNirbhar Abhiyan’ as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence minister said several steps have been taken to promote self-reliance in defence manufacturing. These include setting up of Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh & Tamil Nadu; notifying two Positive Indigenisation Lists; launch of Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020 and transfer of technology free of cost from Defence Research & Development Organisation and unveiling of Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) to encourage innovation and technology development in defence.
Highlighting the role of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Defence minister said HAL has been given a one-time order of about Rs 50,000 crore from the Armed Forces in addition to the export orders. The percentage of domestic procurement in the fund allocated for defence modernisation has been increased to 64.09 per cent. Rajnath Singh called for proactive involvement of the Armed Forces, saying that active participation from the defence services is needed for these reforms to bear fruit.
Defence minister also stated that, ever since Independence, some evil forces have resorted to various methods to try and create an atmosphere of instability in the country, but the Armed Forces have ensured that the unity and integrity of the country is maintained. “When our neighboring country realised that it cannot fight a front-war with us, it resorted to proxy war and made terrorism an integral part of its state policy. This was a major paradigm shift in the challenges faced by our country. Keeping these changes in mind, we made major changes to our security related policies. Under a new dynamic, we developed a pro-active attitude against the menace of terrorism,” he added.
Referring to the cross-border strikes on terror camps, Rajnath Singh said these strikes changed the reactionary mindset into proactive mindset. “Despite the challenges on India’s border, the people are now confident that there will be no compromise on national security. There is a strong belief that India would not only end terror on its own land, but if needed it would not hesitate to end terrorism anywhere else. This change defines a new era of national security in India,” he added.