Defence chiefs term China as ‘difficult challenge’

New Delhi : The chiefs of the defence forces have unanimously described China as a tough challenge amid the two-and-a-half-year standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Defence chiefs term China as difficult challenge
Defence chiefs term China as difficult challenge

The Army Chief admitted that the lesson of being ready at all times has been learned from Eastern Ladakh, so it is necessary to improve the infrastructure. The IAF chief has cautioned to be prepared for hybrid warfare, citing unsafe neighbourhood. Terming China as a tough challenge, the Navy chief also said that it has increased its presence not only on India’s land borders but also in the maritime domain.

It is a coincidence that Army Chief General Manoj Pandey, Air Force Chief Air Marshal VR Choudhary and Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar took part in three separate events on the same day and called China a tough challenge in one tone.

General Pandey said the standoff along the border in eastern Ladakh has taught a high level of preparedness and improving infrastructure at all times. The Army Chief, in response to a question at the India Defence Conclave, clarified that the infrastructure in Arunachal along the northern border will also have to be improved.

General Pandey said that despite the withdrawal of troops from the PP-15 at Gogra-Hot Spring, there were still two standoff points, Depsang and Demchok. He said that he was sure that they would find a solution for these too. The Army Chief said that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is completely under control. He said that there has been a significant increase in infrastructure especially in Eastern Ladakh in the last two years. He also talked about improving the aviation infrastructure and said that helipads are being constructed in forward areas for strategic and tactical airlift.

In the India Defence Conclave itself, the Indian Air Force Chief said that the neighbouring countries do not have an ideal security environment, so the country should always be ready for hybrid war. In the current situation, the country is facing many threats, it is a big challenge to specialise in hybrid wars, he said. He emphasised that given the current political climate, it is important for the IAF to enhance its capabilities in the traditional, sub-conventional and non-traditional domains. He said that the enemies have increased their capabilities in many areas, which can be used against India, it does not necessarily happen in war, it can happen in peace time also.

To respond to new threats and challenges, technical excellence has to be achieved over the enemy, he said. India is a responsible power, but in the current situation, it is necessary to increase the capability of the Air Force especially in conventional, non-conventional and co-conventional areas, he said, various platforms, sensors, weapons, networking are the most important, in-house research, development and production will have to be increased to enhance future capabilities. He said that the new technologies, platforms, weapons, systems and policies currently being worked on around the world can make existing technologies and weapons less useful, but also useless.

Similarly, in the ‘India’s Naval Revolution: Becoming an Ocean Power’ event held in the capital Delhi, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar described China as a tough challenge and said that it has made its presence not only on India’s land borders but also in the maritime sector, however, the Indian Navy is conducting regular surveillance in the Indian Ocean region. He also talked about the traditional and other security challenges for the country. He said Pakistan has continued to modernise its military despite economic constraints, especially its navy.

The Navy Chief further said that these traditional military challenges persist all the time. At the same time terrorism remains a major security threat. In such a situation, it is a big challenge to constantly adopt new strategies by staying one step ahead of these invisible enemies. He said that the Indian Navy will be completely ‘AatmaNirbhar’ by 2047 from production of ships and submarines to spares and weapons. He said that the Navy would be fully indigenous, be it ships, submarines, aircraft, unmanned systems or weapons etc, that is what is aiming for.

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