//Army bogged down by internal security duties: Experts

Army bogged down by internal security duties: Experts

Source ::: Agencies

New Delhi • Contending that India’s military power has been unwittingly bogged down with internal security duties, a defence expert has made a strong pitch for the armed forces to not only guard the frontiers but also secure exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and energy security.

“It is a sad commentary on the performance of the civil leadership that 60 years after independence, the stability of India still directly depends on the stability of the Army instead of the excellence of civil administration”, Bharat Verma, Editor of Indian Defence Review, said.

Instead of improving the capabilities of the police and paramilitary forces to tackle internal threats, “We have unwittingly degraded the quality of manpower that India requires to defend itself from looming external threats by saddling it with internal security responsibilities,” he said in a strongly-worded editorial in the upcoming issue of the well-known defence journal.

India would have to hone its military machine and “come to grips with the nuances” of its foreign policy and securing its EEZ and energy security, Verma said.

While the role of military power should be embedded in the foreign policy of the country to defend the borders, it should also have the capability of power projection beyond, he said. Hinting at the establishment of ‘blue water navy’ capability, Verma said the military’s role should be to secure “The sea lanes for trade and commerce, secure the SEZ and to ensure energy security by securing the energy supply routes.” He said India’s geo-strategic position impacts directly on East, West and Central Asia.

“As a rising economic power dependent almost entirely on foreign energy supplies, it may in times to come have to ruthlessly wield its military power to wrest and dominate energy resources from Central and West Asia and Africa”. For New Delhi with its “pacifist” disposition, Verma said though his suggestion may appear to be “very imperial”, but “Without that kind of a ruthless winning attitude, a multi-religious and multi-cultural society surrounded by religious fundamentalists, cannot survive”.

Maintaining that India received one of the finest battle-ready military machines after Independence, he lamented the Indian civil leadership’s “lack of understanding” about military power that, he said, has landed the armed forces with the “unenviable burden” of internal policing.