The year 2022 will be a critical year for the Indian military. This is because the year will decide how our army evolves over the next decade.
A senior government official recently told me that the coming decade will see a lot of developments on the world stage, especially on the military front.
The official’s argument was that China was trying to create a new world order and the United States, which he called “dad (big brother) despite having lost a bit of sparkle in the recent past ”will seek to assert itself and it would be interesting to see how players like Russia react.
There is no doubt that India has become a key player in the game of thrones played by the superpowers.
As the United States tries to woo India through partnerships and collaborations, Russians are a bit like the jealous lover who has tantrums and flirts with China and Pakistan for attention. from New Delhi.
The Chinese seem more interested in twisting India’s arms to make sure she doesn’t kiss with the United States.
Therefore, for India, the next decade is critical and 2022 will lay the groundwork for it.
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China’s controversial land law
On January 1, China’s new land border law which seeks to unilaterally demarcate and demarcate the territorial borders with India and Bhutan will come into force.
This new law will have important implications for the situation at the Current Line of Control (LAC), which is perceived differently between India and China.
The law authorizes both the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Armed Police (PAP) to carry out offensive actions against “invasion, cannibalization, infiltration and provocation” at land borders.
The Indian government has already red flag that evolution, saying China’s unilateral decision to pass legislation is worrying. Notwithstanding China’s claims, the law may have implications for existing bilateral border management agreements as well as the border issue.
It is important to understand that with regard to China, Arunachal Pradesh, the plains of Barahiti in Uttarakhand and several regions of Ladakh are “Chinese territories”.
We will have to wait to see how China reacts to this law along the LAC, which has already been experiencing tensions since May 2020.
Former Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. HS Panag has argued that this law is actually more sinister than it looks, and India will need to take a course correction.
In the latest publication from the Center for Land Warfare Studies, Major-General Ashok Kumar (retired) writing that China turned a “territorial dispute” into a “sovereignty dispute” by passing the Land Borders Law.
He argued that with the increase in the settlement of the civilian population, that the Chinese also Han, Beijing will bring greater difficulty to settle the border dispute with India on favorable terms.
“By passing such a law, and in conjunction with the accelerated construction of 624 ‘Xiaokong’ villages along and within the disputed land borders with India, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has created the conditions for a ‘militarized solution’ to the border issue. ,” he said.
Long before the LAC tensions began in 2020, I had argued that the plans of the army chief, General MM Naravane, which he had formulated just days after taking office, to move the Pakistan’s attention to China was the right step.
Unfortunately for him, the Chinese had already decided to strike and four months after the start of Naravane’s mandate, tensions erupted at LAC.
The coming year will be crucial because while the Indian military has built up well enough in Ladakh to prevent further aggressive action by China at this time, important decisions will need to be made to stay the course.
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Theatricalization of the Indian Defense Forces
A study commissioned by the late General Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defense Staff, on the relevant structures needed for theater commands, will be submitted by mid-2022.
The new CDS, to be appointed in due course, will have to make tough decisions and do what is best in India’s long-term interest.
The CDS will have to consider the point of view of the three services – Army, Navy and Air Force -, deliberate on them, then move on to the next step.
In his article, Major-General Kumar said that one way to counter Chinese aggression would be to accelerate the theatricalization, “albeit in a revised format from the current land-centered approach.”
New planes, submarines, aircraft carriers
The new year will also see key decision-making by the government and the military on critical issues of modernization.
One of the big developments in the middle of next year would be the completion of the new Integrated Capacity Development Plan (ICDP), a project to be piloted by CDS.
This will replace the Services’ individual long-term supply plans, which may not always be in step with the changing realities of war, budget, and technology.
Services often tend to operate in silos; the ICDP aims to change just that.
The ICDP will also take a call on what the purchasing direction should be – if there is a need for new submarines or a third aircraft carrier? Does the IAF need 114 new fighter jets or a much smaller number of Rafales?
These key decisions will guide the procurement plans of the three Services.
A call will also be taken on a number of key administrative changes within the defense establishment.
This would involve a call to have a uniform retirement age for all three services and to raise the retirement age for certain selected branches of services, among others.
Opinions are personal.
(Edited by Prashant)
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