Interaction with Chief of the General Staff - British Army
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The British Army Chief interacts with VIF faculty

Chief of the General Staff, British Army General Sir Peter Anthony Wall KCB CBE ADC Gen held an extensive discussion on Afghanistan’s future prospects with a select panel of experts at Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on May 18, 2011. The expert panel of VIF, which engaged the British Army Chief in discussion, included Mr. Ajit Doval KC, Director VIF and twelve other luminaries. Gen NC VIJ, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM (Retd.) former Chief of Army Staff presided over the session.

Setting the agenda for discussion, Mr. Ajit Doval noted that current instability in Pakistan-Afghanistan region remained a serious global concern, especially for India because of her close geographical proximity to the region. Since any meaningful discussion on Afghanistan’s current security scenario would be considered inadequate without a reference to Pakistan, the interaction between visiting British Army Chief and VIF faculty invariably focused substantially on Pakistan’s potential support to terrorist networks. The foreseeable changes in the west’s strategies towards Pakistan and Afghanistan in the wake of recent killing of the dreaded terrorist outfit Al-Qaeda’s top commander Osama bin Laden by the US Special Operation Forces in Pakistan also came up for discussion during the closed door interactive session. China’s rise and its growing influence in the region however figured partially during the discussions.

General Sir Peter Wall sounded optimistic about finding a solution to the vexed problem in Afghanistan. The potential success to the problem in Afghanistan depends on three essential ingredients: successful transition of security from International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghanistan National Army (ANA), especially the ability of the latter to carry out independent security operations; basic governance construct both at local and provincial levels and finally, the right composition and the right machinery in the government of Afghanistan. The Chief of General Staff remained optimistic that beyond 2014 ISAF would be able to hand over combat operations to ANA completely while relegating itself to a supporting role. The Indian participants however seemed reluctant to accept that present situation in Afghanistan warranted such high enthusiasm. There was however general consensus on many other issues, including the extent of extremism in the region and its implications for global and regional security. Differences in perception in certain other areas were also noticeable.

In his submission, General NC Vij former COAS complimented the CGS for a very elaborate and frank briefing. He also added that some of us had differing perception on certain key issues but nonetheless we value and respect your views as they are borne out of your experience in Afghanistan. Gen Vij also complimented Gen Wall for having had a very illustrious and distinguished career and thanked him for sharing his views and having had an intense interactive session in the VIF.

Event Date 
May 18, 2011
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