Vimarsha: ‘Changing Security Environment: The Role of Indian Army’, talk by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff
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At a public event, organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on 13 Mar 2018 under the Vimarsha lecture series, General Bipin Rawat, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), spoke about India’s changing security environment and the role of the Indian Army, following it up with an equally exhaustive Q&A session. The Army Chief covered a wide spectrum in his talk, covering the issues of evolving nature of threats to India’s security, complexities in modern warfare, hybrid wars, implications of China’s rise, Pakistan’s proxy war against India, India’s military preparedness and the role of military diplomacy.

Highlighting China’s rise, attributed largely to her economic and military power going hand-in-hand for decades, the Army Chief stressed that “they have arrived well before intended time than we had thought they would”. He pointed out that with its influence now extending to the Asia-Pacific, China is in a position to challenge the United States. India, by contrast, has limited power-projection capabilities, as such needs to work in collaboration with other countries. The COAS, however, hinted that with China turning increasingly assertive and regional countries looking at India as a net security provider, the role of the Indian military has considerably widened in the recent years. He also alluded that military diplomacy has an important role to play in India’s bilateral relations with China. Speaking of ‘Hand-in Hand’ - the annual exercise between the Indian Army and the China’s People's Liberation Army (PLA), the General said, “It is back on the cards; we had a meeting again with China, which had not been happening after Doklam. Military diplomacy with China has worked and is moving forward.”

Speaking of Pakistan’s unrelenting proxy war against India, General Rawat said, “it is here to stay”, while Pakistan deliberately keeps it at a level that it does not escalate to the next level. In a warning to Pakistan, General Rawat stressed, that if they increase their activities, then we have the option of going to the next level. He informed the audience that people across the border were facing more damages than us. When they feel they have suffered enough, we will talk about ceasefire on our terms: we do not want a ceasefire on Pakistan’s terms, he elaborated.

Among other highlights of his talk, General Rawat dispelled the notion that defence spending is a burden on the country. He highlighted that with as much as 35 percent of India’s defence budget spent on building infrastructure - roads, railways, bridges, schools, hospitals et al., the Army is significantly contributing to nation-building and unifying the country through such projects. General Rawat also dwelt briefly on Army’s modernisation programmes, especially the integration of three services in Cyber, Space and Special Forces’ domains at the operational levels.

An intense Q&A session followed the talk.

Event Date 
March 13, 2018
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