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Manoj Pande: Nations resorting to hard power to achieve political, military objectives: General Manoj Pande

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The geopolitical landscape is characterised by unprecedented changes today and nations are showing willingness to resort to the use of hard power to secure their interests, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande said.

Speaking at the NDTV Defence Summit on Thursday, the Army Chief said countries are taking the conventional warfare route to achieve political and military objectives.

“Today, nations have shown willingness to resort to the use of hard power to secure their interests, a situation of return to conflict to achieve political and military objectives is a clear possibility,” he said at the event.

He delved upon self reliance and technology transformation in the Indian Army

The Army Chief said that warfare has undergone a rapid change, transcending beyond conventional domain — to cyber, electro-magnetic spectrum, information and space.

“Today, emerging technologies are no more super power centric, non-state actors are increasingly gaining access to modern technologies of military use and employing it for asymmetric…conflict. The fallout is an increased propensity in risk taking behavior and low threshold for initiation of armed conflict,” General Pande said.Proxy wars, he said, are among the threats India has been combating over the years.”The battle space has become more complex, contested, and lethal and shall remain so in the future,” he said, adding that despite challenges India as a nation continue to rise.

To secure the national interest, Indian Army’s vision is to transform to a modern, agile, adaptive, technology-enabled future ready force capable to deter and win wars in any multi-domain operational environments across full spectrum of the war.

Speaking of self reliance in defence needs, he recalled the impact of external dependency for critical components, supply chain disruptions, and weaponisation of denial regime, during the pandemic and amid ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“We need to recognize that even if were to import some war fighting systems, no country will share the latest technology with us. Being import dependent for critical technology, hence entails the risk of remaining one technological cycle behind in niche areas.”

For India to pursue its aspirations, the need to be self-reliant, both in acquiring new weapon platforms and sustaining the existing ones by meeting ammunition spare and maintenance demands, he said as he delved upon self-reliance and technology transformation in the Indian Army

Indigenous R&D is hence imperative, the Army chief asserted.

The enabling actions India is taking include simplification of industrial licensing, FDI liberalization, incentivsation for transfer of technology, promulgation of positive indegenisation list, and a dedicated R&D budget, among others, General Pande informed the gathering.

The central government has set the target of achieving indigenous defence manufacturing worth Rs 175,000 crore including defence exports of Rs 35,000 crore by the year 2024-25.

The government has taken several policy initiatives in the past few years and brought in reforms to encourage indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment, thereby promoting self-reliance in defence manufacturing.

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