PM Narendra Modi Must Ensure Integrated Defence Forces, Through Legislation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the Army, Navy and Air Force to better integrate themselves as they modernise their capabilities, even as he warned Pakistan that its nefarious designs would be thwarted every time, like they were in Kargil in 1999.
“The Kargil victory was symbol of India’s might, determination, capability, discipline and patience… Wars are fought not by governments but by the whole country… Governments come and go… Kargil was the victory of every Indian,” said Modi, while lauding the resolve and sacrifices made by the armed forces at a Kargil Vijay Diwas function to mark the 20th anniversary of the conflict.
From the very beginning, said the PM, Pakistan has conspired to redraw boundaries. “It happened in 1948, 1965 and 1971. In 1999, we foiled their evil designs once again… I had visited Kargil when war was at its peak. It was like a pilgrimage for me,” he said.
“Pakistan did not expect such a powerful response in Kargil,” he said, adding that the time had come for a united global effort to deal with countries resorting to proxy war and terrorism as instruments of state policy.
The Prime Minister used the occasion to emphasise on national unity, saying that there will be no slackening of efforts to protect the fruits of Independence.
Modi said the government is taking several measures to speed up the country’s military modernisation as a top priority, with modern rifles, artillery guns and fighters now being made in India, and would not succumb to pressure or influence in matters of national security.
But the armed forces should also strive towards “jointness” despite “wearing different uniforms”, he said. This came against the backdrop of the urgent need to transform the armed forces into lean, mean, rapidly deployable and integrated military, confronted as they are with only about 25% of the annual defence budget being left for modernisation after ballooning revenue expenditure (day-to-day operating costs and salaries) and pension bill.
The PM said the nature of war is fast-changing, with space and cyberspace becoming the new frontiers of warfare. The government has shown its commitment to national security despite international pressure by operationalizing its nuclear submarine INS Arihant and successfully testing an anti-satellite interceptor missile to destroy a satellite in March this year, he said.
All this is very fine. However The three Services have carried out jointness as far as possible. Now the time has come for the Government to give the final push through legislation. The post of Chief of Defence Staff and a Vice Chief Of Defence Staff must be created through an Act of Parliament. The CDS must be made a permanent non voting member of the Cabinet Committee on Security. He should also be the Single point military advisor to the CCS, the PM and the Raksha Mantri.
Through another act of legislation, The Present Colour Service should be reduced to 7 years. Also all those selected to join the Central and State Government Service including the PSUs first must render 5 to 7 years military service.
The move from military to civil post must be a seamless procedure. This action will in a period of time will reduce the pension bill to just about 20% of the existing expenditure. It is a matter of concern that now pension budget has crossed the pay budget, where as trained manpower is being wasted.