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Security of nation can neither be outsourced nor be dependent on 'largesse' of others: Army chief

NEW DELHI (PTI): The security of the nation can neither be outsourced nor be dependent on the "largesse" of others, Indian Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande has said asserting that becoming self reliant in critical military hardware will be essential to deal with future challenges.

In an address at a defence conclave last Saturday, he said weaning away from import dependencies for capability development requirements of the Army remains pivotal in its strategic planning to be "future ready".

"As the guardians of the nation's security, we are seized of the need to completely wean away from import dependencies for our capability development requirements. This aspect remains pivotal in our strategic planning to be future ready," he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing conflicts world over have shown the impact of external dependencies for critical military components, the Army chief said at the Firstpost Defence Summit.

"Technology is emerging as the new strategic arena of geopolitical competitions. The impact of external dependency for critical components, supply chains disruptions and weaponisation of denial regimes came to the fore during the pandemic and also from the lessons that we learnt from the ongoing conflicts world over," he added.

"These developments have clearly underscored that the security of the nation can neither be outsourced nor be dependent on the largesse of others," Gen Pande said.

"The need to be self reliant in meeting our defence needs, both in acquiring new weapons systems, platforms and equipment and sustenance of existing ones by meeting ammunition, spares and maintenance demands and achieving self sufficiency in critical technologies is hence an imperative," he said.

The Army chief said the defence forces will continue to be "future ready" and that the military is "aligned to the changes that are happening around us."

Gen Pande said disruptive "technologies are blunting conventional combat force ratios" and that multi-domain operations to include cyber, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information are today "inescapable realities".

Conventional instruments of war have also undergone notable technological progression, he said, adding non-state actors are increasingly getting access to modern technologies of military use and employing them for an asymmetric leverage in conflict.

Cumulatively we have seen that the battle space has become more complex, contested and lethal, he said.

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