India must be prepared for short wars, says Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag
Recent instances of "terrorist violence are clear pointers" that this "arc of violence" could be extended to other areas, he told a seminar on Tuesday morning to mark 50 years of the 1965 war with Pakistan.
"In that context we have to be prepared for the short and swift nature of future wars that are likely to offer limited warning time," he said.
"This calls for maintaining high levels of operational preparedness at all times, something that has now become inherent in our strategy."
The army chief was speaking at the seminar organised by the three armed forces - the army, the navy and the air force - where Vice-President Hamid Ansari and defence minister Manohar Parrikar released books that have rewritten the history of the 1965 war, calling the outcome a victory for India.
The official history of the war written in the 1990s refers to the outcome as a stalemate.
Parrikar said the Indian forces defeated the Pakistanis in 1965 despite not having superior equipment. Pakistan was supported by the US and had made the wrong calculation that "the fruit of Kashmir was ripe to be plucked".
The minister said the 1965 war, three years after the defeat in the war with China, had "brought to the fore the resilience shown by not just the armed forces but the entire edifice of the government that rose to meet the challenge".
He said then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, the ministry of defence and the armed forces "worked together to rejuvenate the military capability of India".
The minister said the country must be prepared on the same lines today. "The present-day environment also requires a similar approach, with alertness and readiness, so that we can deter any such action, and ensure a peaceful environment. Jointness and synergy between the armed forces, ministry of defence and all other associated departments of the government machinery are highly essential to win wars," he told the audience of mostly serving and retired soldiers.
Parrikar also said the security environment today was "complex and nuanced", as compared to earlier times. "We, therefore, need to be vigilant, taking into account all dimensions, so that all challenges are suitably addressed."
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