BENGALURU: Taking note of China’s operational doctrine of pursuing the status of world power and aggressively progressing on space, military and cyber fronts, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar on Friday said that India cannot ignore her neighbour’s growing ambitions.
Speaking on “Preparations for War” at the inaugural ceremony of a three-day conclave to commemorate 50 years of India’s victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, Kumar said that as the country celebrates the golden jubilee, it cannot lose sight of the security scenario it faces today. India can’t ignore that China no longer wants to remain a regional power, but is aiming for complete military modernisation by 2035 and achieving a world-class military by 2045, he added.
‘China’s space, cyber capabilities growing’
“We have witnessed China’s capabilities in ship building, landbased conventional ballistic and cruise missiles and its integrated air defence. Its space and cyber capabilities are growing exponentially over the last decade. In December 2015, China set up a PLA (People’s Liberation Army) strategic force, which we know has capabilities to influence the electro-magnetic spectrum, cyber and space spheres.
All this is changing the way the war is fought,” he said, adding, “As per the data I have, after the USA, China has the largest number of satellites in space, 281, as against 64 from Russia and 33 from India.” Emphasising India’s need to be prepared for a non-conventional war, Kumar said artificial intelligence, robotics and information, cyber and space warfare play an important role as new technologies have a disruptive effect in the defence of any country. Kumar said, “It is going to change the symmetry between military powers and the potential to disrupt existing policies and doctrines.
We need to prepare for that while recognising that China in its doctrine has prioritised what it calls ‘intelligentised war’.” He said cyber incidents in India have been growing significantly over the last two years. “These are across sectors, including defence, and there is a need to focus on Grey Zone and Information Warfare,” he added. “It is important that we do not lose sight of how things have changed and how we need to be prepared manifold to face the kind of security scenario today.
We now have a situation in which there are multiple flash points that potentially convert into difficult situations,” he said, citing the example Galwan Valley standoff in May 2020. “It was effectively controlled by prompt and effective action by our armed forces, but the position on the border continues to be tense and the fact that our adversary continues to ramp up both infrastructure and assets across the border remains a matter of concern,” said the top official in the defence ministry.
On China’s increased activities in the South China Sea, he said it is unilaterally claiming the disputes as its own. “We continue to see cross-border proxy war and facilitation of terrorism, particularly in Jammu & Kashmir. The situation in Afghanistan today has posed potentials for new challenges which could happen at any point of time. We do also see the presence of Chinese research vessels, fishing boats and seemingly other benign presence which could have more serious implications.”
The officer said India is taking several measures, including modernisation of forces, making procurement processes quicker, integration of forces and improving infrastructure along the borders. “The Air Force has been taking up modernisation in the last 4-5 years. In the last five years, 2.5 lakh crore has been spent on modernisation of the Indian Air Force,” he added.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)