1. What’s a proxy war? Has it affected India? Examine
After the end of WW2, major super powers didn’t involve in any major confrontation but engaged in proxy war which is supporting non-state actors to confront each other than state getting directly involved.
India has been hugely affected by the proxy war backed by Pakistan state actors on its soil and also outside.
Kashmir is the battle ground for proxy war in India
Radicalization: Local youths are radicalized and pushed to take up arms.
Training: Youths are trained in terror camps across borders and sent back to wage war against the state.
Militants: Militants are infiltrated into country to attack critical installations.
Separatists: Certain groups are given arms and finance support to create constant unrest in the valley.
Organized crimes: Smuggling of arms, ammunitions, drugs to wag proxy war through local networks.
Intellectuals: Intellectuals are funded to protect rioters, demonize defense forces and protests against state.
Afghan has been another proxy war ground between India and Pakistan:
Attack: On Indian workers sent on construction mission and good will missions.
Militants: Sending militants to target innocent civilians to not accept Indian courtesies.
Mission: Attacks on Indian Embassy and consulates in Afghanistan.
Even after three full scale wars, Pakistan still wants to inflict thousand cuts on India. Our security forces have been successful in pushing back infiltrators and warding of major attacks but still lot needs to be done on ground level to finish off this proxy war.
2. India’s space program needs techno-military orientation. Do you agree? Critically examine.
With launch of GSAT-7, India officially placed its first military satellite on orbit and after successful launch of Agni-V, India acquired capabilities to take down enemy satellites in low earth orbits. This has given start for military space program which is a priority for us now.
Need for Techno-military orientation:
Secure communication lines: Secure, unbreakable and encrypted communication lines are required for security forces.
Neighborhood: China is already ahead with military space program which puts our security at risk.
Global position: Change is global realities and developments require us to develop our own.
Wartime: During conflicts, foreign support will cease like during Kargil war.
Missiles: Advanced weapons need satellite support to reach the target.
Frequency interference: Due to high civilian satellites, separate frequency is needed for forces and support in region like Kashmir.
Effects of militarizing the space:
Outer space conflicts: Conflicts on land will spread to outer space.
Militarization: Outer space will lead to weapons storage and militarization.
Competition: It will lead to competition and all major countries will start competing with each other.
With ever growing demand for energy, this program looks for exploiting space resources to meet our needs. But with the level of poverty and scarcity of resources, this plan must be well thought off before execution.
3. Examine the need to review India’s National Security Cyber Policy 2013 in light of the emerging cyber security challenges.
The National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 aims to protect and monitor Information and strengthen the country’s defense against cyber-attacks.
The mandate of this document was to ensure a resilient and secure cyberspace for government, businesses and citizens.
Need to review the policy:
In India, there has been a surge of approximately 350% in cybercrime cases registered under the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 from the year of 2011 to 2014, a recent ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study said today.
In the last two years, digitization and the cyber threat landscape has undergone a radical change not only in India but globally. The cyber space now occupies a key position in national security.
In recent years, large scale cyber threats that includes attacks through virus like Stuxnet, the emergence of hacker networks, and the militarisation of cyber space have become a cause of concern.
As the country is experiencing a digital revolution, the impact of this transformation makes it imperative for financial service players to revisit their cyber security resilience.
The number of incidents occurring in banking systems has increased in the last five years. In the month of October 2016, an ATM card hack hit Indian banks, affecting around 3.2 million debit cards.
With an increase in the usage of ICT in critical infrastructure, attackers can gain control of vital systems such as nuclear plants, railways, transportation or hospitals that can subsequently lead to dire consequences such as power failures, water pollution or floods, disruption of transportation systems and loss of life, noted the study.
There is no national security architecture today that can assess the nature of cyber threats and respond to them effectively.
India’s civilian institutions have their own firefighting agencies, and the armed forces have their own insulated platforms to counter cyber-attacks.
Currently all institutions work in silos.
What needs to be done?
The highly skilled IT workforce, which India has, needs to be harnessed by the government for strategic use. Skilled law enforcement personnel are the need of the hour, considering the highly technical and advanced nature of cybercrime being reported.
India needs to build its offensive cyber capabilities.
To deal with the growing cyber threats we require an overarching national cyber strategy to prioritise the objectives in an evolving environment, achieve synergy between different institutions and work in coordination to deal with different threats.
There is a need to establish a centralized repository for cybersecurity standards, best practices and guidelines, which can be used by law enforcement agency for preventing and investigating cybercrime
A dedicated national governing unit may be established in India, which will be the central agency for all state government cybercrime agencies to coordinate, integrate and share information related to cybercrime.
Cybercrime awareness shall be introduced in academics in the early stages of education as a mandate for all the state and central, and public and private schools, adds the study.
Spread awareness on cybercrime prevention since the cybercriminals are constantly inventing new ways to attack and are in search of potential victims.
A fully operational cyber command is the need of the hour, given that India’s digital capabilities lag significantly behind regional and global players.
4. India’s defence inventory still being predominantly imported calls for efforts to indigenize defence production. Elucidate.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reports that India was the world’s largest importer of weapons and military equipment between 2012 and 2016, accounting for 13 percent of global arms imports.
As India’s geo-political and economic ambitions grow, it needs to develop robust indigenous manufacturing capabilities and ecosystem to secure its ambition for self-reliance in the Defence industry .India allocates about 1.8 percent of its GDP to defence Owing to the dynamic security environment, India’s defence requirements are likely to increase in the foreseeable future making indigenous development of modern defence hardware and technology a top priority for the government.
The fact that India ranks amongst the top 10 countries in the world in terms of its military expenditure, makes it one of the most attractive markets for defence.
With the government’s agenda to reduce import dependence in defence by 35-40 percent it is actively promoting indigenous defence manufacturing with initiatives like Make in India and policy reforms including allowing 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Even the recently launched Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) is seen as a game changer to ensure faster pace in procurement, especially through newly introduced categories under indigenously designed, developed and manufactured (IDDM) provisions
Several states are also offering incentives and concessions in the form of aerospace clusters or Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for developing an ecosystem where all core and ancillary activities related to defence manufacturing can co-exist.
While the government is taking numerous measures to bolster defence manufacturing, the pace of modernization must be balanced with both short and long term initiatives. Here are some necessary steps that must be adopted to enable long term indigenization
Co-development and co-manufacturing with foreign OEM’s to adopt best practices for global quality standards in their manufacturing processes to lead to the creation of a gold standard supply chain and defence manufacturing ecosystem in India. Besides technology-linked FDI, the Ordnance Factories Board must be encouraged to team up with private collaborators.
A skilled talent pool: As per government estimates, a reduction in 20-25 percent in defence related imports could directly create an additional 100,000 to 120,000 highly skilled jobs in India. To be ready for the opportunities of the future, the industry needs to build and train talent to address the growing needs of the market.
Robust supply chain:A strong supply chain is critical for a defence manufacturer looking to optimize costs. With the government’s offset policies, procurement policies and regulatory incentives spurring the growth of a domestic defence industry, the SMEs need to play a more active role in developing a robust supply chain.
Infrastructure development: While the government is investing in this area the pace of development needs to pick up considerably and public-private participation can go a long way in hastening this process.
5. Examine the need of reforms in the field of defence manpower, resources and budgetary allocations. Also discuss the recommendations of the Shekatkar Committee Report in this regard.
Since independence, Indian military has remained at the forefront of providing internal security, supporting humanitarian missions in India and abroad, and providing conditions of stability along the borders. With the demands of changing geo-strategic scenario and geo-political situations, the military has to constantly focus on its size, equipment, and operational structures to remain an agile, efficient, and smart force capable of meeting present-day challenges and undertaking full spectrum of operations.
To recommend measures to enhance the combat capabilities of the armed forces and re-balance the overall defence expenditure the government constituted Shekatkar Committee in 2015.
Need for reforms
Major chunk of the budget is revenue expenditure on salaries, pensions etc of 12 lakh manpower.
India is facing more complex challenges in its defence modernization aspirations.
The Indian defence industry suffers from major policy, structural, and cultural challenges
India’s inability to meet its own defence needs through indigenous production (The two flagship programs Main Battle Tank Arjun and Light Combat Aircraft Tejas are examples where the Indian defence research organisations have gone through several production delays and cost-overruns.) is drawing wider concerns
Foreign companies are hesitant to invest in a defence industry without having full stakes in the defence production.
India’s offset policy is based on an inflexible doctrine of indigenisation, and India’s offset policy should be made compatible with the economic dynamism of the global defence industry.
There is a lack of the greater political will that has severely affected decision-making in terms of acquiring weapons on time as per the needs of the Armed Forces.
The committee considers National Cadet Corps (NCC) as a non-core area and has thus suggested that military should not be involved in its operations.
Coordination among three defence services should be enhanced in order to remove duplicity.
Institutions such as the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and ordnance factory boards must be made accountable through the mechanism of conducting project audits and by getting rid of outdated concepts.
Most important recommendation of the Shekatkar committee is that the defence budget should be in the range of 2.5% to 3% of the FDP. This recommendation was meant to address the nature of security challenges which India faces from its neighbourhood.
The committee called for redefining the revenue and capital heads in the budget. In context of defence budget, ‘revenue’ means funds required to sustain the military, whereas ‘capital’ is amount to be spent on acquiring new defence weapons/systems and modernising the existing ones.
The committee had suggested that, if implemented over the next five years, the recommendations can result in savings of up to Rs. 25,000 crore in defence expenditure.The savings can be utilized for overcoming deficiencies in combat arms, for officer especially for officer cadre.The number of soldiers available for active combat with the Army is set to dramatically go up by over 57,000 in the wake of the Union cabinet accepting a slew of military reforms.
The committee had submitted around 99 recommendations.The Government, in consultation with the Indian Army, has been going through the recommendations, and the first batches of 65 recommendations were accepted till now. All these recommendations have to be operationalised by the end of 2019.