Bengaluru: Military and political leaders should walk together to strengthen the armed forces, said Lt Gen (Retd) Prakash Menon, officer of National Security Council Secretariat, India, on the concluding day of Synergia Conclave – Security 360, on Sunday.
He said that vital issues of statecraft and national security are determined by the institutional interaction between the civil and military components of the country.
Lt Gen Menon, who was also part of a committee that reviewed the National Security System, said, “Military leaders should learn the nuances of politics from political leaders, while politicians should ensure that they gain knowledge about armed forces, which will lead to a strong combination of both to fetch positive results. This will help bring about an efficient system to combat conflicts. We should also never forget civil organizations who play a vital role. It is regrettable that the dialogue between military and political leaders is not successful all the time and this should be looked into soon. ”
He said, “India should introspect whether it wants to be a maritime power or a continental power. Do we have the required instrumental set-up to be any of these powers? All these factors need to be pondered over. India has good civil and political principles, which need to be implemented. The civil and military relationship should be strengthened and trouble should be spotted before it arrives. A suitable and efficient solution should be drawn up, as we do not know in what form the trouble can attack the nation.” He said, “We cannot say that there is no dialogue and discussion taking place between military, political and civil leaders, but more is required and at regular intervals. During the Dhoklam crisis, the civil and military relations were at its best and this should continue in every aspect. The political leadership concentrates more on short-term goals, while they should focus on long-term goals. They should prioritise goals and work towards them.”
He said that there is a sense of disenchantment among ex-servicemen, who have protested against various policies. “It demoralises the men in uniform who are serving. This angst and tension is clearly visible, as messages I get through various Whatsapp groups, consisting of ex-servicemen, clearly show it. Integrating the military in decision-making arenas will be useful.”
Mr James Creighton, former colonel of the United States Army, said that coordination between the forces and the local authority is important.
“To fight a modern battle, the integration of civil and military is the key component. They will have to analyse the situation and tackle it and this can be done through strong civil military relations.”
Talking about Security 360, Mr G.K. Pillai, former home secretary to the union government, said that there are more private security personnel than policemen in the country.
“The police strength is around 14 lakh, while that of private security personnel is around 70 lakh. This shows that the security has been outsourced in large numbers. But we do not know whether they are trained to handle conflicting situations.”
He said citizens should play a role in the security system. “Citizens should be first responders to any situation. What will people do when a mall is attacked?
Can they tackle the situation? No, they cannot, as they are not aware of responding mechanism. People should be trained to handle situations then there will be less crime. The government should also increase the conviction rate in crimes,” he said. Mr
Frederick Douzet, chairman of Cyber Strategy, Institute of National Defence Studies, Paris, said, “Traditional conflicts will soon be taken over by cyber terrorism, which is already proceeding at a great speed. Powerful nations, who develop tools to combat cyber attacks, assume that they are safe, but the enemy country will copy their strategies and use it against them. Example is North Korea unleashing ransomware and malware to cripple the USA. Countries should be better prepared to handle the cyber scenario."
Mr Pindar Wong, managing director, VeriFi, Hong Kong, said the rise of Dark Net and Dark Market is dangerous.
“Through these platforms, you can buy anything from a television to arms and ammunition to confidential data related to the government. These platforms must be curbed, otherwise things will get dangerous for individuals and countries." he warned.