This is an IDF analysis on war and IDF has rolled up its sleeves to table half a dozen Questions in Arnab Goswami style. Brick bats are welcome.
The Eternal Flame, the Ulta Shastra Rifle and the Bayonet at the Amar Jawan Jyoti under New Delhi’s impressive India Gate built by the British to honour India’s military contribution and supreme sacrifices in World War One, truly belongs to the India’s unknown soldier. It is the nation’s salute to those who gave their all to see surviving Indians live in peace and India rises with no threats especially to its territorial security and show India’s Flag and HADR world over after the glorious victory in 1971 which disremembered Pakistan into two. Bangla Desh was born. It led to Victory Day on 16th Dec 1971. So the subject is war and lessons in this century to synthesize the Army Navy & Air Force and Government must take responsibility for it. .
War, Churchill said, is a most serious matter that needs understanding and rushed to Parliament from semi retirement in 1939, with the intelligence about Germany leaked to him in national interest. He convinced the house that he was the man needed to lead UK in World War ii to Victory. He did smoking a Cigar, sipping brandy and directing the war with a pretty trusted secretary by his side. But he lost PM ship, so wrote six Volumes to win the Nobel prize, called the ‘War: Resolution, In Defeat: Defiance, In Victory: Magnanimity, In Peace:’
In Churchill’s time nuclear bombs were not there but got employed by USA to end the war. The Cold War followed 1965-90 between the Soviet Union and USA, and USA won by making Soviets spend on Defence beyond their capacity. It dashed Soviets’ ambitions to overtake USA with Communism. India had no option so latched on to the Soviet camp but called it Non Alignment and grew at the Hindu growth of rate with attempts of import substitution. When Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, the Rouble collapsed and India gained financially and was forced to look at other options and coined Strategic Autonomy and later No First Use nclear policy. Now its more Modi’s strategy to rise with personalized partnerships with large nations and to keep China humoured and at bay.
IDF offers a proposition on war for the 21st Century. ‘War is a not only a serious matter, it is a bigger and more serious challenge. Revolution of Military Affairs (RMA) has added Nuclear Weapons, Cyber Warfare and Space power to be understood by strategists and tacticians for a future cold or a hot war, which will be short in duration.’
Those making Strategy and War Plans in India must seek clear direction from their political masters and rules of engagement (ROE). In 1971 Gen Candeth was told to follow a defensive strategy after he had planned an attack strategy and same happened in Kargil when opening another front or air attacks few miles across the border that Gen VP Malik proposed may have helped. It came out that the Government denied both in a recent seminar. COAS and some PSO’s were present.
In India the Defence Secretary is responsible for the Defence of India in the order of business. The three service Chiefs selected with deep selection are still independent. Hence Defence Minister and his/her Ministry brass must be involved in what should be joint plans for war! Currently a structure for this is lacking unless NSA has donned the mantle to vet war plans. Planning contingencies is an essential learning experience.
Today, ambitious and rich China with Communist democracy, and USA which is democratic with powerful leaders Xi and Trump are engaged in a new Cold economic and military war in which India has become a key player with its economic rise and maritime geography in the Indo-Pacific. Russia is siding China. Nuclear North Korea is a puppet of China and Russia, and is the joker in the pack. Nuclear power counts, so a small nation with nuclear power can blackmail a bigger power. That is India’s challenge with Pakistan, now trucked with China.
In the last five years India would have done much better economically but Demonet made India lose a year of high growth and Defence has suffered most with mere 1.4% of GDP allocated for defence.
Outside the budget in most nations large sums are spent for nuclear forces, nuclear submarines and a Greenfield nuclear base in India. Oxford Don Sir Michael Quinlan,( 1930-2009) who served in RAF and MOD an expert on Nuclear issues and Deterrence came to India few years ago and spoke at IDSA and to Government to explain cost of over nuclearisation which could spell trouble for money for conventional forces, and how UK gave up its land and air force nuclear forces and strengthened its 12 under water nuclear submarines with Trident missiles from USA. Government told him our nuclear submarines and weapons come cheap !
Service Chiefs’ took time to plan and was led by Mrs Indira Gandhi as a Supreme Commander that PM and NSA fill today. 1971 war took place when Kissinger with Pakistan’s help forged a USA-China détente to aid Pakistan. Mrs Gandhi cleverly countered that with a security Insurance treaty with Soviet Union.
That victory saw sacrifices by some 3400 fine souls leaving behind some 1800 widows and their orphans. Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram opened the purse strings and ensured much delegation to Service Chiefs and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Gen Sam Manekshaw who acted as a CDS with his personality in concert with a co-operative CNS Admiral SM Nanda and CAS ACM Pratap Lal.
Manekshaw was to be come a CDS in the rank of Field Marshal but it was not to be and now 47 years later after disagreements the three Chiefs have agreed and recommended a Permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff. This must happen !
IDF tables six questions as on 16th Dec PM was not heard lauding the 1971 Victory while speaking at Amethi (but twitted his praise) spoke how Indian Defence Forces were deliberately weakened with Congress bashing. This, soon after he skipped Navy Day for Priyanka’s wedding and this raised sea going eyebrows.
Q 1. Is military down graded? Have the Armed Forces been politicized more than necessary and uniformed have succumbed like other Institutions ?
Q2. Is the victory of 1971 under Mrs Indira Gandhi’s leadership being seen as a war under Congress so has receded in BJP time?
Q3 Has the 2016 “Surgical Strike” into Pakistan by BJP taken up more traction than 1971 ?
Q4 Is it enough the three Chiefs CNS and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba CAS ACM Dhanoa and VCOAS Lt Gen Anbu led by RM Mrs Nirmala Sithraman in a Naval salute meet at Amar Jawan or a bigger Vijay Divas event there be facilitated with few Cabinet and political leaders led by PM himself for Shradanjali with invitees, as Government does for Tourism and shows at India Gate at huge expenses? A Memorial is coming up.
Q6. PM held three Commanders Conferences on INS Vikramaditya, Dehra Dun at IMA and Jodhpur airbase and CDS was shot down, but media and RM reported and assured that PM had ordered study and implementation of Theatre Commands. IDF followed that and what came about is a Committee headed by NSA a powerful Non Constitutional Ministerial post with Chiefs under it, and finally MOD to decide on it’s recommendation. Is that enough and what is the progress ?
India is a big country with a powerful military but its politics are synonymous with a small country mindset of castes, religion and beliefs between parties fighting like children. Strength of the nation comes from the military and economy of the nation, but military is not lauded for its secularism.
This can happen if the Government (MOD) takes responsibility for synthesizing the Army Navy and Air Force with all the knowledge the nation has had over 70 years of war and peace. This is the biblical question that IDF thought as Vijay Divas passed and media is becoming a detractor than a facilitator.