India is looking at “creating a rocket force”, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday even as he underlined the need for extensive use of niche technology to combat various national security challenges, including possible aggression by China.
In an address at an event, Gen Rawat described Pakistan as a “proxy” of China, noting that Islamabad will continue its “proxy war” against India in Jammu and Kashmir and that it is now attempting to create trouble in Punjab and some other parts of the country.
“As far as our northern adversary is concerned, since we have unsettled borders with them and they have shown aggression on the east coast, on the South China Sea with nations in that area, are they (China) likely to show aggression on our northern borders?” Gen Rawat said.
“Whether it happens in the form of direct aggression or through use of technology, we have to be prepared. This preparation can only happen if we work together,” the Chief of Defence Staff said.
Referring to measures initiated to bolster India’s air power, he said, “We are looking at creating a rocket force”. Gen Rawat, however, did not elaborate on the plan.
On the situation in Afghanistan, Gen Rawat said nobody ever thought the Taliban will take over the country “so fast”.
“Only time will tell what happens. Let us wait and watch. We do not know what is likely to happen in the future in Afghanistan. There could be still more turmoil and more changes which cannot be anticipated now,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, former defence secretary NN Vohra called for allowing declassification of Henderson Brookes Report on the 1962 war with China.
Talking about overall geopolitical developments, Gen Rawat said China’s rise has happened faster than envisaged and that it is becoming more and more aggressive.
“We share a land border with them. Therefore, I think it is time for us to start looking at our strategies as how we are going to deal with two borders having aggressive neighbours, Pakistan on the western front and China on the north,” he said.
“We need to start looking at transformation for the betterment and ensuring that the national security architecture that we want to evolve is capable of dealing with the kind of threats we are seeing,” he added.
The Chief of Defence Staff said ensuring integration among the armed forces was key to confront future security challenges.
He said technology must be considered as the fifth pillar of national power after diplomacy, information, military and economic prowess.
The Chief of Defence Staff said all the three forces must understand the importance of new technology to meet future challenges.
Referring to the ambitious theaterisation initiative for the three services, Gen Rawat said the plan has been to have one theatre command each for the western border and northern border.
To a question on key roles of top commanders in case of a war, he said the chiefs of the three forces will ensure training and look at the wherewithal of the theatre commands besides other key aspects.
Gen Rawat said any war will be precisely fought by the theatre commanders on an approved plan made by the Chiefs of the Staff Committee. The Chiefs of Staff Committee will be headed by the Chief of Defence Staff.
In his address, Gen Rawat spoke extensively about India’s future military challenges, security doctrine and key aspects of the ambitious reform process in the armed forces.