With India rising as an economic power, it has to strengthen its defence and foreign policy. In an exclusive interaction with The Policy Times, Maroof Raza shared his views on where is India going wrong in defence preparedness and where should India act more smartly.
Maroof Raza is a retired Indian Army officer, currently the Consultant cum Strategic Affairs Expert for Times Now. He had earlier also anchored and presented a 26 part series on the Indian armed forces, titled ‘Line of Duty’. An episode from this series, on the Siachen Glacier won an Award in the military documentary section at the Film Festival in Rome in 2005.
This TV series has entered the “Limca Book of Records” as India’s first military reality show.
Maroof Raza currently writes a column for ‘Salute India’ a monthly magazine for India’s armed forces, and has written editorials for all the leading newspapers of India, and has lectured extensively in India and abroad on India’s security concerns. He has also authored several articles, essays, and books.
With India rising as an economic power, it has to strengthen its defence and foreign policy. In an exclusive interaction with The Policy Times, Maroof Raza shared his views on where is India going wrong in defence preparedness, what should India act more smartly.
Q. How is India’s Defence preparedness vis-a-vis China and other world powers?
Answer: As far as defence preparedness is concerned, we have to look at this in multiple ways. One is to develop a strategic mindset and out of that with the political leadership giving brought directions should come out as India’s Defence Doctrine. Unfortunately, we don’t have a full-fledged doctrinal approach from the Ministry of Defence. Separate defence services have their own Doctrines. So we are now in a position that each individual service is willing to fight a conflict or two conflicts individually but they cannot collectively corporate under an umbrella Doctrine which has not been spelt out by the Ministry of Defence clearly. Then comes the issue of how equipped and how prepared our forces with the challenges. The pathetic state of funding for equipping arm forces has brought us to a situation where we are nearly as badly off in relative terms as the pre-1962 error when China humiliated us.
Though our armed forces are willing to fight to death and we now have reduced our capability to fight a 10-day intensive war scenario as against what was traditionally a 40-day intensive war scenario but even that capability will soon be reduced if we don’t immediately make up the critical gabs in defence and equipment of our armed forces such as emanation for air defence and weapon systems, the ability of our fighting soldiers to be equipped with the right kind of weaponry and Rifles to take on both internal and external threats, the capability of the air force which is already dwindled down to 25% below acceptable levels. So we are in just a touching-go situation as far as military preparedness goes with equipment.
The services have thought-through what they need to. They keep going through training exercises and debating these issues but at the level of critical funding, the government is not prioritizing. Not only this government but every successive government in the last 20-25 years have given lip services to National Security but done very little to meet the arm forces. And how well prepared our defence forces to take on the challenges in terms of a state of defences vis-a-vis China, Pakistan and terrorism in all those fronts, I can say with confidence that we are well-prepared and we have the capability of defending Indian territory as and when an unfortunate eventuality arrives. We also have an equal offensive capability.