New Delhi: Even as India seeks global cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said it was time for India to strengthen its capabilities and stand on its own feet.
The Prime Minister noted that a coordinated global response to issues has become difficult as major powers are "pre-occupied".
“Terror groups are highly networked, nimble-footed, and more lethal... (the situation) calls for appropriate responses,” the PM told the Combined Commanders Conference here, which was attended by three Service Chiefs.
Singh further noted that international strategic and political environment has
deteriorated, which must be factored in while adopting policies.
He described cyber threats as an emerging "major source of worry" as he pointed out that cyber and information warfare could "qualitatively change" the concept of a battlefield.
"Your conference is taking place at a time when the country is faced with multiple challenges. In this age of rapid information flows and explosion of technologies, one of the most important security imperatives is our ability to respond to these challenges quickly and in an integrated fashion," Singh said.
The Prime Minister also highlighted nuclear proliferation
and nuclear security as a "serious threat in our
"It is equally the responsibility of the government to
equip our armed forces with all the necessary means to meet
all threats to our nation, including those which go beyond
conventional warfare," he said.
Listing out internal challenges, Singh said, "We have to
work assiduously to address problems in the North East and
deal with left-wing extremism in a comprehensive manner."
He stressed that that armed forces have to be sensitive
to the needs of the weaker sections of society and ensure that
the fruits of progress reach them.
"Issues relating to use of scarce resources such as land
and water and strengthening institutions of governance require
much closer attention than they have received in the past,"
The Prime Minister told the commanders that the
government would never fight shy of finding the funds for
modernisation of the armed forces.
"At the same time we have to recognise that resources are
not unlimited. I would urge upon you to optimise the use of
scarce resources," he said.
Singh suggested that advance and long-term planning and
the creation of common institutions, communication networks
and infrastructure were some examples of how this could be
"We should keep this in mind, particularly when we build
new capacities for meeting emerging threats," he said.
Singh said modernisation of the armed forces should not
be limited only to acquisition of foreign equipment or foreign
"We have to progressively reduce our dependence on
external sources. This has to be a national effort, involving
our armed forces, our scientists and captains of Indian
industry," he said, adding that development of an indigenous
defence industry was a national security objective.
"We have succeeded in persuading many of the advanced
countries to dismantle their export control regimes targeted
at us which will give us access to high technology, but we
need to gear up our own efforts," he said.
Singh asked the commanders to ensure transparency,
probity and accountability in procurement procedures and
constantly work towards reducing time for processing the same.
The PM also highlighted the commanders`
special responsibility to inculcate the finest qualities of
character, integrity and professionalism among junior officers
and men and women.
The Combined Commanders Conference - a three-day brain storming session – is being held in the wake of concerns over security situation in the South Asian region.
Apart from the three Services Chiefs, military commanders and Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) are also attending the Conference. During the deliberations, the Prime Minister is expected to discuss the security scenario in the region including the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"The Services will also get to interact with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna," Defence officials said.
Singh is also expected to hold talks on the progress in infrastructure development programme in the Northeast and modernization of military capabilities there.
With PTI inputs