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India’s ‘inherited challenges’ have only grown in scale and intensity: Army chief | India News

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NEW DELHI: In a reference to the eastern row of Ladakh, Army Chief of Staff Gen. MM Naravane said on Thursday that the situation along the northern border highlighted the nature of the threats India faces to preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and noted that the “legacy challenges” have only grown in scale and intensity.
He said that while the Indian military will continue to prepare and adapt to future challenges, the “closer, real and present dangers” in India’s “active borders” cannot be ignored.
The Army Chief was addressing a seminar organized by the Center for Land Warfare Studies, a leading group of military experts.
Over the past nine months, thousands of Indian and Chinese troops have been involved in a bitter border clash in eastern Ladakh that created severe strain on bilateral relations overall.
On Thursday, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh announced in Parliament that both sides reached an agreement on the withdrawal of troops on the north and south shores of Lake Pangong, which is a major site of confrontation.
General Naravane said that ongoing developments along the northern borders should cause the armed forces to reflect on the nature of the unstable borders and the consequent challenges regarding the protection of the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“There are certainly new threats on the horizon, but the harsh reality is that inherited challenges have not entirely disappeared. In fact, they have only grown in scale and intensity,” he said.
“While the Indian Army will continue to prepare and adapt to the future, the dangers closer, real and present, in our active borders cannot be ignored,” said the Army Chief of Staff, in an apparent reference to the line of almost 3,500 km. of Current Control (LAC) with China.
He said that the main challenge facing the Armed Forces today is that of increasing capacity improvements in an era of “finite budgets”, adding the structures, inventories and human resources of the armed forces that will have to adapt and transform accordingly.
“The future is to be agile, smart, fast and innovative in both thought and action,” he said.
At the same time, he said that the Indian army is constantly consolidating its structures and capabilities to win “wars of the future.”
Speaking about the shifting contours of security challenges, Gen Naravane said that when India focused on developing core capabilities in the spheres of land, sea and air, the country’s adversaries took the battle to the newest domains of space, cyber. and computing.
He said India’s adversaries are investing in creating a formidable engagement venture in the form of long-range precision fires, hypersonic vehicles and robust air defense capabilities.
“To win future wars, the mere dominance of the traditional domains of land, sea and air will no longer be enough,” General Naravane said.
He said that as adversaries expand the “gray-zone contest,” there is an “dire” need for modern armies to be as proficient in competition as they are in hard-core “kinetics.”
“We need to get rid of the classic disposition to war and peace and improve the fusion between governments to win aggressively in the competitive space,” he said.
The Army chief also spoke extensively about how future wars could be fought with the use of highly maneuverable UAVs, electromagnetic spectrum technology, swarm drones, or the use of low-orbit systems.
He said that considering future threats, the Indian Army is also focusing on multidomain operations (MDO).
“We would need to move rapidly towards large-scale integration to combat the digital age and also in the pursuit of greater interoperability,” he said.
“We need to recognize the scale and magnitude of the challenge, and move more quickly towards integration in combat, intergovernmental fusion and the complete dissolution of inter-institutional and also civil and military silos,” he added.

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