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  • Vasudev asked: Is staffing relevant in present day war scenario?

    Ali Ahmed replies: Military staffs have been around as long as military leaders have. The function of military staff is to support the commander in planning and executing the mission of the force, interacting vertically and horizontally and monitoring the situation on behalf of the commander. Current day conflict would continue to require this function to be discharged and therefore military staffs are here to stay. However, the way they are configured currently and the manner in which they discharge their responsibilities is influenced by technology induced changes. The revolution in military affairs and the military technological revolutions, alongside developments outside of the military in communications and IT/IT enabled services, call for a reappraisal of discharge of the staff function. Netcentric warfare and innovative management practices necessitate change from traditional organisational structures, procedures and processes. This no doubt commands attention within the military. Middle piece officers are trained in the staff function at the Defence Services Staff College. This would be the node within the services to conceptualise the necessary steps to improve practices, along with the training and doctrine related agencies in respective services such as the Army's Army Training Command. For instance, a self-critical look can be taken for delayering, streamlining and pruning, particularly of top heavy headquarters. This is reportedly underway with the Transformation initiative being test bedded in terms of integrating logisitics. This being a significant area in the staff domain, the outcome bears watching.

    China’s 12th Five Year Plan and its Military

    China’s 12th Five Year Plan, approved by the National People’s Congress on March 14, has effectively tied up the PLA’s defence modernisation with overall national growth.

    March 25, 2011

    Forging India’s Hard Power in the New Century

    The changing security environment calls for re-fashioning the use of hard power, which may have to be managed differently in the future.

    January 24, 2011

    Venkat replies: Do India have any proposal regarding kashmir issue? Against Musharraf's proposals of 'demilitarization' and 'self-rule'

    Arpita Anant replies: Musharraf’s four-point formula which was articulated in 2006 suggested that there would be no change in boundaries while allowing for free movement of people across the LoC; a phased withdrawal of troops; self-governance or autonomy for the region; and a joint supervision mechanism involving India, Pakistan and Kashmir. While there were some indications that the two countries were close to an agreement on these proposals, no concrete agreement could be reached. In the meantime, in 2008 a democratically elected Government of Pakistan came to the helm of affairs. Shortly thereafter, talks between India and Pakistan stopped in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. An attempt to resume these talks was made in 2010 with the visit of the Home Minister P. Chidambaram to Pakistan, followed by the meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in July 2010. However, on 30 June 2010 Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi clearly stated that Musharraf’s four-point formula was “his thinking” had not been endorsed by the Parliament or Cabinet. Since the formula was thus rejected by the democratic government in Pakistan, an Indian response to it is not necessary. Moreover, any proposal regarding the Kashmir issue is also unlikely to be articulated unless the ‘trust deficit’ between the two countries is bridged.

    Sanket Telang asked: Are there any Private military and security companies in India? If no, why?

    Ali Ahmed replies: There are companies in India offering military relevant services and others providing security. The latter are more visible and much in demand after 26/11. The former are fewer as they are catering to a narrower more specialised field. Nevertheless, they have figured in areas such as demining in Sri Lanka. Their profile is lower than similar companies in the US for instance, since India has the necessary military and paramilitary wherewihal in the state sector to provide the military related services, be it in terms of planning, management, logistics, consultation, maintenance, security etc. The profile of companies such as Xe Services etc is higher due to the outsourcing of many military relevant services to them by the US in the GWOT. This was done to reduce the visibility as a target of the US military and to reduce pressures and expenses on the US military. These companies hire an international staff. Indians also work for these companies. These companies undertake tasks such as logistics, maintaining bases, provisioning dining facilities and even protection of assets. They have come under controversy, especially where they have had to open fire. They blur the distinction between combatant and non-combatant and occupy questionable status in domestic law of the host country. Some dubious companies have been known to undertake politically sensitive missions earlier in the African continent. The case is India is considerably different and in prosecution of wars or internal security India would not depend on such companies. Also see - (p. 54)

    Military Doctrines: Next steps

    The Services have been doctrinally fecund over the past decade, with each Service bidding to pursue relatively distinct campaigns, which would amount to lack of synergy and the whole failing to rise higher than the sum of its parts.

    August 16, 2010

    Sasi asked: Is it viable for India to set up military bases abroad? Which are the other countries with bases abroad and where all?

    Harinder Singh replies: A “military base” is a facility established or operated by the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations, in pursuit of a country's national security objectives. More than 1,000 military bases and installations exist around the world; most of these are operated by the United States, which has a military presence in over several dozen countries (details of which can be surfed on the internet). These range from vast installations, like Guantanamo Bay, to smaller military bases or training camps, nuclear missile sites, rest and recuperation camps and refuelling stations. In addition, the US and some of its NATO allies complement this vast military presence with an even more elaborate network of port-of-call rights, and landing rights for military aircraft. In so far as India is concerned, it has traditionally engaged in defence cooperation with friendly foreign countries as an important component of the national security strategy. It encompasses visits, contacts, exchanges, exercises, port calls and training facilitation to build and maintain trust in the interests of mutual security. The Indian Navy in particular has been forging strong partnerships with a number of navies in the Indian Ocean region, the more notable ones being the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan. In this regard, India has also been engaging the island nations strategically located in the Indian Ocean region.

    Faisal asked: I am a 16 year old boy and I want to know what exactly is defense analysis and whether military analysis and defense analysis are the same thing?

    S. Kalyanaraman replies: Defence Analysis and Military Analysis are one and the same thing. The word 'defence' came to be increasingly used during the course of the 20th century, instead of the earlier preference for 'war' which is seen as indicating an offensive mentality. Thus, for instance, Ministries of War became Ministries of Defence. As a subject, Defence Analysis relates to the study of military concepts, military organisation and structures, and military technologies. Military concepts guide the use of armed forces and their weaponry as well as the strategies and tactics used in various contingencies like all-out war, limited war, intervention in a third country, counter-insurgency, peacekeeping operations, etc. Military organisation refers to how the armed forces are structured to meet the requirements laid out by a particular defence policy. And military technologies are those developed and used to increase military power.

    The message from mock battles

    Even though the respective military exercise held by Pakistan and India are about handling of respective offensive reserves, the message that emerges is that their employment is best avoided.

    May 07, 2010

    Enhanced International Cooperation Through Aided Military Training Programmes: A Study of the US Experience, with Specific Reference to South Asia

    Major powers have tried to use military training programmes, manifested through military-to-military cooperation running the gamut of training exchanges to joint exercises, to defence-related dialogues through seminars and the like, in order to engage and influence other countries in the furtherance of their strategic interests. The US model is notable for being innovative, flexible, scalable, and broad in its approach, and this has fetched it considerable dividends.

    March 2009