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Primacy of technology in modern battlefield amply demonstrated: Gen Pande on lessons from Russia-Ukraine conflict

Primacy of technology in modern battlefield amply demonstrated: Gen Pande on lessons from Russia-Ukraine conflict

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has highlighted the importance of firepower and technology in modern warfare, according to Indian Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande. Speaking at an event in New Delhi, Gen Pande emphasised the need for a realistic assessment of the duration of war and the inclusion of technology in military strategies.

The recent conflicts, especially the ongoing Russia-Ukraine one, have brought to the fore certain key indicators that have enabled the Indian Army to appreciate the “contemporary character of war” and the relevance of firepower in accruing a decisive advantage in the battlefield, Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande said on Tuesday.

Addressing an event here, he also said that the “primacy of technology in the modern battlefield” has been “amply demonstrated” in this conflict.

He was speaking at the Gen S F Rodrigues Memorial Lecture at Manekshaw Centre, which was also attended by many former chiefs of the Indian Army, former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N C Suri (Retd), among others.

Gen Rodrigues (Retd) served as the Army chief from 1990-1993. His wife and other family members also attended the function held on his 90th birthday.

After Gen Pande’s remarks, a lecture on ‘Ukraine: Challenging Character of War and Firepower’ was delivered by Lt Gen Raj Shukla (Retd).

The army chief in his address touched upon the lessons that continue to emerge from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “The recent conflicts, and especially the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, have brought to fore certain key indicators, which have enabled us to appreciate the contemporary character of war, and also the relevance of firepower in accruing a decisive advantage in the battlefield,” Gen Pande said. He said, “What should be a realistic assessment of the duration of war from a planning perspective? Does the hypothesis of a short and swift war, in our case, still hold good?”

The answer to that has ramifications on the army’s selection of objectives, operational plans, and also on the stocking levels that the force wishes to have, he said.

The next issue is the “primacy of technology in the modern battlefield, which has been amply demonstrated in this conflict. A natural fallout therefore points towards infusing these technologies into our war-fighting system,” Gen Pande added.

The army chief said Gen Rodrigues was an “accomplished soldier-statesman” and his contribution went far beyond his career in the olive greens, having served in the National Security Advisory Board and and as a governor of Punjab.

As the army chief, he ensured that many key initiatives were taken forward to fruition during his time. These endeavours have had a very “profound impact” on the Indian Army, Gen Pande added.

First, as has been said before, the induction of women officers in the Army in streams other than the medical corps, which commenced with the first batch that was commissioned way back in 1992, he said.

“This pathbreaking step in our human resource management domain has fostered excellence and inclusivity and over the years, we are further enhancing our commitment towards gender equality,” Gen Pande said.

As a professional gunner officer, Gen Rodrigues ensured that the regiment of artillery continued to remain aligned to future requirements, and it was during his tenure as an Army chief that the conceptual framework for raising the artillery division was formulated, he added.

“In fact, the need to remain congruent to the contemporary environment and keep pace with future needs stands relevant even today. These aspects form the backbone of our current transformation initiatives, which we have put in motion,” the Army chief said.

Gen Pande said the current inventory is not an ideal mix of the vintage, the current and the state-of-the-art systems or the ratio between the three, adding, “modernisation of replacement of all is neither feasible nor desired at once”.

“So, we need to space out our upgrade and new procurements, as per our evolving indigenous capacities, while maintaining a fine balance between the old and the new,” he said.

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