India is rethinking the relevance of a foot soldier and its war strategy due to change in nuances of modern warfare and a Task Force on Defence Modernisation and Self Reliance has suggested to defence services to focus more on research.
It is learnt from a reliable source that the task force had recommended that the defence services needed to have a different mix, apart from infantry and armoured corps, that was research oriented.
Surprisingly, the relevance of a present day foot soldier was also being questioned as technological advances had changed the nuances of warfare from brawn to brain. The report had suggested ways to make him relevant.
“As the armed forces become more technical and technology oriented, the foot soldier with existing fighting skills won’t be that relevant. To make him still relevant, he should possess skills of different kind,” the source said.
The task force was constituted by the National Security Council (NSC) to focus on issues pertaining to defence modernisation and self-reliance.
The source said there was a need to have an ongoing assessment of technology coming into play as well as capabilities while suggesting the need to have a system similar to that of the United States on how to handle modernisation of defence forces.
He said that the biggest challenge for India was self-reliance. “Of the total defence budget of `1 lakh crore, nearly two-thirds is spent on equipment outsourced from abroad.”
Stressing the need for public private partnership, he said the government needed to work out how to leverage the financial capital to build self-reliance without it having to put in money. India had the potential as it possessed engineering skills and many of the world’s premier research and development organisations relied on Indians who were working in various capacities.
He rued the fact that the contribution from Indian universities on applied research was lacking and that they were more or less transformed as nurseries of political recruitment rather than of scientific temper. “If one goes through any US university, one comes across Nobel laureates. But in India, we hardly have any.”