We are already witnessing ‘trailers’ of future conflicts, probability of full-blown conflict can never be ruled out: Army and Navy Chiefs
General Naravane pointed out that whatever is happening should shape our tomorrow and for it, we will have to transform technologically.
NEW DELHI: While India is already witnessing the ‘trailers’ of future conflicts and the way our security situation is, “the probability of a full-blown conflict can never be ruled out", said the Chiefs of Army and the Navy on Thursday.
General MM Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff said, “We are already witnessing ‘trailers’ of future conflicts. They are being enacted daily on the information battlefield, in the networks and in cyberspace. They are also being played along, our yet unsettled and active borders.”
Talking about the Indian Security situation Admiral Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff said, “Given our security situation, the probability of a full-blown conflict can never be ruled out.” Rather, we are involved in managing these conflicts even now on a day-to-day basis, Navy Chief said.
The three Chiefs of the services were speaking at an International Webinar organised by the Indian Army along with its New Delhi based Think Tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS). The three forces chiefs spoke on the theme “Contours of Future Wars & Counter Measures”.
General Naravane pointed out that whatever is happening should shape our tomorrow and for it, we will have to transform technologically. “It is for us to ‘visualise’, the battlefield contours of tomorrow, based on these ‘trailers’. If you look around, you will realise that the ‘sci-fi’ of yesterday, is the ‘reality’ of today. We too have to ‘leap-frog’ to the future, skipping many stages, to an entirely new configuration.”
There are multiple factors currently that will shape future wars, Admiral Hari Kumar said “contemporary geopolitical climate and more specifically, the return of Great Power Competition.” as the topmost factor.
Speaking from the same platform Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said that this competition is already getting manifested on the ground. “We are all aware that at the operational and tactical level, this competition is already manifesting in the form of grey zone warfare, hybrid warfare, salami slicing, etc.,” the Air Chief said.
“In future, we could be attacked on all fronts, starting from economic strangulation to diplomatic isolation and military standoffs to information blackout in the form of distributed denial of services.” Added the Air Chief.
The solution will lie in the whole of the government approach and it won’t be a single service war in future agreed the three Chiefs.
The Air Chief pointed out traditional domains of land, sea and air have further expanded to include cyber and space domains, which will be the battlegrounds of the future. But the AirPower will be an instrument of choice in future, said Air Chief. “In the past rise in fall of nations was dictated by the size and prowess of the fielded forces. However, conflicts in the last few decades have established, without doubt, the preeminence of airpower as the instrument of choice for almost all operational contingencies.”
Alluding to the tense standoff going on in Eastern Ladakh since May 2020 General Naravane added that adoption of modern technology will have to be in conjunction with the boots on the ground. “Developments on Northern Borders underscored requirement of ready and capable forces with an optimal component of Boots on Ground backed by modern tech to preserve our Sovereignty and Integrity.”
The events in 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. “Our adversaries shall continue with their efforts, to achieve their strategic aims, short of conflict, by use of Grey Zone activities, in the political, military and economic domains, and do so in a collusive manner,” Naravane said.
Talking about the measures being taken in order to meet these challenges, “the Indian Army along with the other two Services, is undertaking a number of initiatives to stay a step ahead.” “We are honing our capabilities to undertake multi-domain operations. The focus is to exploit the potential of these domains, to create strategic effects on the adversary.”
The process of integration of the three Services through Theaterisation is already moving ahead to a time-bound plan. The creation of the Defence Space Agency, Defence Cyber Agency, and the Armed Forces Special Operations Division, are steps to synergise resources and expertise and build integrated capabilities in these domains.
Admiral Hari Kumar said, “The large volume of knowledge encapsulated in our ancient texts, epics, treatises etc would be educative in this regard.”