Colombo, May, 11: India’s defense doctrine, as stated in an official document dated April 18, 2017, includes a resolve to enhance the military’s representation in the country’s diplomatic missions in view of India’s enhanced role in ensuring security in the region and beyond, writes P.K.Balachandran in Daily Express
At the core of the new defense doctrine on conventional warfare are two basic premises:
Firstly, as a nation aspiring for a greater role in the new world order, India cannot stand detached from global developments. It has to be prepared to influence the world using its geographical location and multifaceted national power.
Secondly, the size of India and its strategic location at the “head and heart of the Indian Ocean” gives it tremendous leverage to ensure regional security.
In other words, the Indian armed forces will not only have to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India, but take on security duties in the immediate neighborhood and strategically relevant areas beyond it.
That call for cooperation and inter-operability of goals, services, techniques, command structures and logistics not only among the three Indian services, but also between the militaries of India and other countries.
Therefore, the Indian military will have to be co-opted by the Ministry of External Affairs and the presence of the military in Indian diplomatic missions abroad must be enhanced, the document says.
No First Use of Nuclear Weapons
The document, worked out by the Defense Ministry, reiterates the position that India will not be the first to use a nuclear weapon in a war and that its nuclear arsenal will be under tight civilian control with the ultimate decision on its use or non-use resting only with the Prime Minister.
To quote the document: “The defining issues for nuclear C2 (command and control) is to; maintain a credible deterrence; no first use; civilian authorization; and a dispersed arsenal structure to ensure that the option to retaliate is available,” the document says.
“The broad framework of India’s nuclear doctrine drafted by the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) has laid out our robust C2 structure to ensure our credibility in nuclear deterrence. The framework emphasizes that nuclear weapons shall be tightly controlled and released for use at the highest political level.”
“An effective and survivable C2 with requisite flexibility and responsiveness is in place. The overall C2 structure ensures maximum restraint in employment with an effective interface between civilian and military leaders.”
“The National Command Authority (NCA) is a two layered structure – the Political Council (PC) assisted by an Executive Council (EC). The NCA is responsible for the deployment, control and safety of nuclear assets. Chaired by the Prime Minister, the PC is the only body empowered to take a decision on nuclear issues while the ultimate decision to authorize the use of nuclear weapons rests solely with the PM.”
“The Executive Council (EC) which advices the PC and is chaired by the National Security Advisor (NSA), provides the necessary inputs for effective decision making by the PC and is responsible for executing directives received from the PC. The Service Chiefs are members of the EC.”
“The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) manages the nuclear command. The SFC manages the nuclear arsenal and comprises representatives of the three services besides civilian staff, experts from the Indian Atomic Energy Commission and missile experts from the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).”
“The tri-service SFC is the NCA’s operational arm, having its own Commander-in-Chief. He reports to the Chief of Staff Committee (COSC) as well as National Security Advisor (NSA), and controls all of India’s nuclear warheads and delivery systems.”
“Alternative chains of command for retaliatory strikes exist for all eventualities,” the document adds.
On the crucial issue of politico-military relations, the doctrine says that a “symbiotic” relationship between the two and parliamentary control over the military are mandated by the Indian constitution.
“A robust and firm political control and a strong military serve the national Interests best. However, to address national security imperatives, it is necessary that institutional and structural mechanisms that facilitate free flowing communication between the two exist, thereby enabling critical and timely decision making. The functionaries in the Ministry of Defense ought to be enablers of this relationship,” the document states
Strategists throughout history have sought to prevent war and settle disputes through peaceful means. Hence the dictum “prevention is better than cure”, or “war should be the last resort.” This calls for attention to the root causes of conflicts ,the document suggests.
However, apart from other measures, wars can be prevented through show of force and mutual confidence building. Countries are normally restrained by a fear of each other’s war-waging potential. War-waging potential is therefore, a credible deterrent. The policy of deterrence aims to present to the potential belligerent an unacceptable degree of damage in comparison with his political gains.
“A credible deterrence capability strengthens a nation’s diplomatic leverage and is a major factor in the test of wills between countries,” the document says.
Coercive diplomacy is an option for maintaining peace through a show of force. A threat of military force in support of diplomatic, economic and other pressures, may force a belligerent to comply with conditions, thereby preventing war, it adds.
(The featured picture at the top is that of the Agni III missile on parade)