PM’s military vision bolsters armed forces

With a series of bold decisions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned the tide for the defense forces to shed the baggage of the past

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s first post-independence prime minister, has been working in mission mode since taking over as head of government in 2014. He has made historic decisions to redefine the political, economic and military landscape of India. , which was considered a weak nation overall not because of its potential and capabilities, but because of a lack of strong political leadership. India’s voice was often unknown on global platforms, while internally we had a government that operated remotely.

In 2013, the whole nation witnessed in shock the horrific episode of an angry Rahul Gandhi publicly tearing up an ordinance issued by the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh. Rahul Gandhi was not even the chairman of the ruling Congress Party. The UPA government was mired in endemic corruption at the highest level, while the prime minister was unable to control his ministers. He was also plagued by the disease of “decisional paralysis”. This had a natural impact internationally and India’s global image was hit hard.

But with the arrival of Narendra Modi, things started to change globally. Today, India has regained its status as a global guru and its views on all important issues are not only heard but respected. Prime Minister Modi strongly believes in the professionalism and supremacy of the Indian Armed Forces. He strongly believes that no nation can aspire to be a world power without strong and capable armed forces. In 2014, he inherited the armed forces which are suffering from the “hollow”. The equipment held by the armed forces was not only extremely low but also suffered from obsolescence. The armed forces demanded modernization, but the UPA government paid no heed.

Many defense contracts signed by the government of the day were mired in corruption charges putting an end to any new contracts needed for modernization. At one time, the then Defense Minister AK Antony even announced the lack of funds as one of the reasons.

Modi understood that India could not afford high import budgets to maintain the armed forces. When Modi took over as Prime Minister, he had a clear vision for India’s armed forces. To put it simply, he wanted to transform the Indian Army from a mere “force” into a military “powerhouse”, shedding its colonial heritage. He knew that it would not be easy for him to change the deeply rooted mindset of the customs and traditions of the armed forces and to accompany them in his vision not only of “indigenization”, but also of “Indianization”. “. He will therefore have to take a very careful path.

From “Agnipath” to “INS Vikrant”, the various decisions taken by the government are in line with Modi’s military vision. In his maiden address to the Combined Commanders Conference in 2014, he said: “The world was looking at India with renewed interest, confidence and enthusiasm and there was a universal undercurrent of expectation from India. India to emerge not only as one of the poles of the global economy, but also as one of the pillars of global and regional security. While talking about future threats, the Prime Minister said, “Threats may be known, but the enemy may be invisible. Domination of cyberspace will become increasingly important, making its control as critical as that of land, sea and air. He spoke of the importance of the integration of armed forces, reforms in procurement processes, national development and production of defense equipment, assessment of long-term threats and “digital armed forces”. “.

He also wanted to transform the armed forces. Slowly, the Prime Minister’s vision began to materialize. Acquisition of Rafale combat aircraft, deployment of a new defense purchasing policy, delegation of financial powers to the vice-chiefs of the three forces, creation of a new military affairs directorate at the Ministry of Defence, appointment of the chief of Defense Personnel with the powers of an Indian Government Secretary, the modernization of the Armed Forces and the Dramatization Mandate were some notable and welcome moves.

Cross-border operations across the LOC and airstrikes deep in enemy territory symbolized the growing strength and confidence of the Indian Armed Forces under the Modi government.

Aatmanirbhar Bharat and self defense force is another initiative of Modi government and is part of Modi military vision. The construction of a defense corridor, the prohibition of certain military equipment imports, the indigenous production of 108 military equipment and the export of military equipment including Brahmos are the giant steps taken by the Modi government towards the ‘autonomy. The list of equipment to be produced locally includes sensors, simulators, sonars, radars, assorted weapons, helicopters, next-generation corvettes, AWACS, tank engines, combat vehicles, missile systems fourth-generation anti-tank, surface-to-medium-range missiles. -air missile system, artillery guns, including self-propelled guns.

Modi unveiled a major component of his military vision at the Combined Commanders Conference at Kevadia in Gujarat in 2021. This conference was unique in that it included junior officers and non-commissioned officers for the first time. But the participants were chosen with a purpose. Modi wanted his vision to permeate down to the base. In his farewell speech, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of strengthening the indigenization of the national security system, not only in equipment and other military materials, but also in the doctrines, procedures and customs practiced in the armed forces. .

Modi unveiled his vision of “Indianization” in front of a very carefully chosen audience. He also revealed another issue close to his heart and very vital for India to grow from a “strength” to a “power”. He underscored the need to optimize workforce planning in the military and civilian parts of the national security architecture. He advised the Services to get rid of legacy systems and practices that have lost their usefulness and relevance.

No self-respecting nation can claim to be a world power while carrying colonial baggage. The armed forces started the process. However, many people, especially the opposition parties, who criticize every government action, question the government’s intention and call it a

“saffronization” of the armed forces. In my view, such comments are the result of short-sightedness and an attempt to politicize national security issues for electoral and appeasement purposes.

Modi’s military vision is paying off. The Prime Minister himself acknowledged the same when he cheered on the armed forces from the ramparts of the Red Fort during his address to the nation on August 15 this year. He said: “For the first time after 75 years, the Made in India canon hailed Tiranga. Will there be an Indian who will not be inspired by this sound? He also praised and hailed the armed forces for voluntarily embracing the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission. On September 2, 2022, Prime Minister Modi witnessed the implementation of the two pillars of his military vision, indigenization and Indianization, when he presided over the commissioning ceremony of the first aircraft carrier of local manufacture INS Vikrant and unveiled the new Naval Ensign removing the red colored St. Georges. Cross, legacy of the colonial past.

(The author is a Jammu-based veteran and security and strategy analyst)