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Military reforms, China threat to test new regime

Military reforms, China threat to test new regime

Continuing with policy to tackle China along the LAC among key issues. file



Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, June 6

As the contours of the new government will emerge on Tuesday, a series of key tasks would need attention in the Ministry of Defence.

These would include taking forward the military’s structural reforms, reducing import of weapons and continuing with policy to tackle China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The new government faces the pending military reforms — creating theatre commands or having an integrated force with all elements such as cyber, space, land, air and sea. These have been given a final shape and a formal proposal from the Department of Military Affairs would be sent to the government for approval.

The proposal is in three demarcated timelines till 2047 by incorporating changes in technology, addressing the changing nature of warfare and integrating the abilities of the three armed forces. This is a task laid out by Narendra Modi government when the Post of Chief of Defence Staff was created in January 2020, now things have reached a decisive stage.

Another issue for the new government is tackling the dichotomy between the export of military equipment and India’s continued run as the largest importer of weapons in the world. In the previous fiscal, India’s exports of military equipment stood at Rs 21,083 crore. However, despite locally made warships, fighter jet Tejas, nuclear submarine INS Arihant, missiles like Akash and BrahMos, New Delhi keeps on emerging as the top global importers of weapons.

Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its report on March 10 this year said India maintained its position as the world’s top arms importer. The SIPRI tracks arms sales globally and produces an annual report. India imported 9.8 per cent of all global arms between 2019-2023, it said.

Another pressing issue is China. Four years ago in April 2020, Beijing amassed troops, hundreds of guns, tanks, missiles and long range artillery on its side of LAC in Eastern Ladakh.

After April 2020, the Narendra Modi government ramped up troop numbers, added equipment and moved elements to send a message across the LAC. Since then the two sides are locked in a military stand off. The situation has somewhat improved but restoration of status as in April 2020 has not been achieved.

After 21 rounds of military commander-level talks there has been partial success. And importantly all agreements on maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LAC were disregarded by China. Within the security establishment, it is an accepted fact that new agreements are needed.

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