In the Artha-shastra, Kautaliya states, ?One of the three internal duties of the king is the protection of the state from external aggression. The other responsibility was the enlargement of territory by conquest.? He broadly defines four types of wars against an enemy. The first type is Mantra-yuddha or the war by counsel. It is the exercise of diplomacy, when a king finds himself in a weaker position and considers it unwise to engage in battle. The second type is Prakasa-yuddha or open warfare. It specifies the time and space, i.e., a set piece battle. The third type is, Kuta-yuddha or concealed warfare and refers primarily to upajapa or psychological warfare. The fourth type is Guda-yuddha or clandestine war, using covert methods to achieve the objective without actually waging a battle. The defense of his realm is a constant preoccupation for the king. Thus, second tattva of our agenda for India'snational defenses is External Security.
Modern India possesses the world'sfourth largest armed force, after China, Russia, and the United States, but are we the fourth most powerful nation in terms of military strength and military technology? Are any of our neighbours more militarily superior than us? Kautaliya states that the greatest threat to a state is from its neighbours. India has a history of military aggressions from her neighbours. Strategic preparedness and actual imperialist designs are two different things. India is not imperialist, never has been. But India must evaluate its? strategic preparedness from an imperialist perspective to gauge threat perceptions.
In his fictional book Dragon Fire, Humphrey Hawksley, a BBC broadcaster depicts a simultaneous two-front nuclear attack on India by her neighbours. The most important point in the book is not the fictional India-China nuclear war, but the fact that the Indian Prime Minister in the book on Hari Dixit chooses to die with the people in a nuclear hit before retaliating only humanely so that the enemy cities have minimal civilian nuclear damage. The depiction of Indian leadership as being humane and meek indicates how the world views India. The perception of India as a soft state can only be changed through a series of steps that demand a drastic increase of our military might. The Indian Army ideally must match man-to-man the combined might of some of neighbours, and develop a five-year plan to prepare her armed forces meet a multiple front attack.
Technologically advanced robotic probes and drones can be placed on the border posts both on the frontier with Pakistan as well as on the Himalayan heights to man them. Or research organisations must work on projects to revolutionise the battle field scenarios, provide more unmanned vehicles and provide India with the technological edge that very few country possess. The US Army soldier is hard-wired to the internet and gets real-time battle scene scenario through the command center. The soldier has achieved beyond visual range combat capabilities, with shoulder fired anti-tank missiles. Has the era of the tank battlefield tactics of General Patton and Field Marshal Rommel ended? Or has a new chapter in warfare dawned in which, armed with a better armour, technology link-up and anti-tank missiles, the modern day soldier is a one man army? India with her million strong men should focus on increasing the destructive power of the soldier on lines of the US Army. Each and every Indian soldier should have his own secure encrypted wireless internet protocol so that the commanders can micro-manage soldier formations on the battlefield.
The Indian Navy needs massive modernisation, along with submarines that possess SLBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile) capability to give India parity with China. The Navy must have its own strategic weapons? arms, and our Naval warships must carry nuclear warheads with their appropriate delivery systems. The Navy can also induct warships with missile-defense weapons to provide India'stwo fronts protection against incoming missiles. Since the 1971 war, Pakistan has made a new port, Gwadar, near the Iran border with the help of China. How many new ports did India develop in the same time? How many new modern warship ships were added? Why do Indian ports take such a lot of time to make new warship ships? The next ten years must be strictly warship building years for Indian Navy. India has only one ageing aircraft carrier group. Ideally, it need three such aircraft carrier groups to truly have a Blue-water navy. One group would guard the western front and one the eastern one. The third group would patrol the stretch from the South China Seas, the Malacca Straits in the East to the East African coast in the West. The ports of Mazgaon and Vishakapatanam must be modernised and augmented in Strength to increase our speed building capabilities on lines of the Hyundai ship building yards in South Korea. Requirements of the Indian Navy can become the core around which India increases her ship building capabilities and improves her expertise commercially. India must develop state of the art warships that have stealth capabilities, be high speed and made up of radar diffusing material and paint.
The sinking of HMS Sheffield, a modern computerised Type-42 destroyer in the Falkland'swar (1982), made the US and the British navies install multiple anti-missile, high-speed guns on either sides of every warship ship to destroy incoming anti-ship missiles. How many of our warships have such systems?
The Setu-Samudram project must have a naval component to it, to enable quick movement of India'snaval warships between the Eastern Western fronts. India must develop an arm of floating repair platforms that can provide necessary high-seas support to battle damaged warships, enabling them to survive and return back. The Indian navy consumes a huge amount of diesel for its warships. Is there a mechanism to check theft or adulteration of the diesel being put in our warships? A huge diesel scam was unearthed in Mumbai. Over 21/2 tones of diesel stolen from Indian warships was found in the possession of the very private agency entrusted of fueling our ships. It is being estimated that the agency provided 40,000 tones of diesel fuel every month, and that scam was going on for over ten years. The theft of diesel definitely reduced the limit that our warships could go without refueling. One only shudders to think in the event of a war, our warships would have been sitting ducks, drifting and out of fuel, when as per records they still ought to have had reserves left. Is this scam limited only to Mumbai, or is it prevalent in every other naval base as well? The Navy must come out good on this question and put in motion a series of checks and cross-checks to prevent the recurrence of such scams.
The Indian Air Force urgently needs generation-next aircraft, even though the ageing MiGs remain a credible force. The upgraded MiG-Bisons are equipped with modern avionics nonetheless without thrust vectoring and dual-engines. To counter the high cost of acquiring new aircraft, India launched the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project named Tejas. Even though the LCA has yet not been fully inducted into the armed forces, nonetheless, with its cost at about US $8 million (Rs 36 crore) a piece, as compared to the Russian built Sukhoi-30 costing $ 35 million (Rs 158 crore) or the French Rafael costing $ 70 million (Rs 315 crore), the LCA is the best bet for India to replace the MiGs. For the cost of one French Rafael, India can make nine LCAs. In the decade 1990-2000, the Air Force lost about 172 MiGs in peacetime crashes more than its combined war losses of 115 aircrafts. India has paid a very heavy price for the delays in LCA project. In 1996, India started a US $ 340 million (Rs 1,530 crore) MiG upgrade program. The upgrading of the 125 MiG-21s is expected to enable the IAF to extend the life of the jet upto 2015, the time the LCA is expected to be inducted into the armed forces. It is not long when India would join the elite club of nations, which export sate-of-the-art aircrafts to other countries! A popular slogan ?Param vaibhavam netume tatsvarashtram? (Taking the nation towards its ultimate glory) seems to be coming true as far as the LCA is concerned.
As a policy, India must insist on technology transfers from western nations, so that the aircrafts are manufactured in India and a factory built for that purpose. The new aircrafts must be dual engine with thrust vectoring capabilities. Given the diversity of aircrafts in India, the Air Force should think about experimenting with mixed formations, in which one Sukhoi forms the core of the swarm surrounded by numerous LCAs. The LCAs having a higher power to weight ration would be able to manoeuvre quicker than other aircrafts, while the Sukhoi carries its large number of weapon systems.
Along with aircraft procurements, India must focus on the making its huge network of highways capable of providing landing possibilities for fighter aircrafts, just as some Scandinavian countries have done. The Indian Air Force must also revamp its network of radars to have a full proof air surveillance system.
During the Second World War, India was crucial for China'sdefense. The British built many airstrips to serve their purpose. Some of these airstrips have now fallen into disrepair. The Air Force, must take over such unused airstrips and turn make them into hubs for setting up of the internal air command system. Drastic increases are required not only in the number of planes that our Air Force has, but also in the reconnaissance aircrafts that need to be procured.
The D-Day in June 1944 saw the largest armada of ships that mankind had ever seen, it carried the largest ever army crossing on the seas. Similarly, the Indian Air Force must become the ?air armada? of modern India, and have the capability of moving a million men between its western and eastern fronts within 24 hours. It takes about three hours of flying time to reach from one front to the other by air, plus an additional hour for loading and unloading. In eight hours an aircraft can go from the eastern front to the western and back again. This means in twenty-four hours four such trips are possible. The Airbus A380 can transport over 500 passengers in comfort. If the Indian Air Force modifies its cargo planes so as to get 1,000 men carrying capacity, then in 24 hours, such a plane can carry 4,000 men from one end of India to the other. To move a million men in 24 hours, the Air Force would require 250 such aircrafts. For emergency purposes, high capacity gliders could additionally be attached to increase the number of personnel being transported in the shortest possible time. India, with a billion people, needs to innovate and acquire such a mass air transport capability.
Our paramilitary forces must be increased in strength and the compensation paid to a paramilitary casualty on active duty must be at par with the one being got by the Army. India'sparamilitary weaponry can be augmented by utilising the weapons and ammunitions captured from insurgents. There is no logic in keeping the captured weapons in storage. The Border Security Force (BSF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the National Security Guards (NSC), etc must also have their own air-crafts as well, so as to increase their strike capabilities.
With modernised and armed with technologically advanced weapon systems, the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Paramilitary forces can become the chatur-bhuja (four might arms) of India. Let not a day, be delayed in the procurement of technology that these arms need.