Today, India is already a nucleararmed power and with ISRO having launched 104 satellites in 2015 (highest in the world) from a single rocket through PSLV-C37, India has now emerged as a space power that has also successfully launched foreign satellites. Thus, with India moving at a rapid pace on its scientific development and manufacturing of advanced weaponsystems, next generation combat aircraft, warships, submarines, developing Artificial Intelligence, advanced air defence system and a resultant astrong economy,the nation will certainly emerge as a global power rubbing shoulders with the US and China.
If India looks at maintaining strategic autonomy without getting into any binding alliance, then ‘Make in India’ must continue to be looked as an indispensable catalyst to strategic autonomy and thus, needs to be pursued with a defined bold path and the prevailing resolve. The year 2018 had seen the GoI taking a major policy decision to set up two defence production corridors, one each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Now Gujarat, too,will be setting up a defence corridor soon.
Taking similar great initiative, the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, too have come forward to set up defence manufacturing hubs, thus, contributing to the anticipated growing indigenous arms export and taking theIndian economy to greater heights. Hopefully, morestates that have no dearth of land,workforce and access to sea port, would rise above the confinement of local political priorities and move ahead to contribute towards the nation building to enable it to attain higher goals at the global level.
Indigenous defence production will certainly provide umpteen avenues in multiple domains and thus enhance job opportunities for the younger generation and help in curtailing brain-drain. This is, therefore, the right time to work out a process to reach out to the younger generation to start giving them an exposure to not only understand the intricacies of defence production industry, business houses, technology etc and great opportunities available, but also give them an exposure to prevailing global security scenario and where India fits in. Such an initiative will help us catch the right eye at the right time.
However, we must not ignore one major fact that any nation that aspires to rise up as a big power at the global level to call the shots, also needs to be prepared to look beyond its border threat. We have to carefully look into the multiple domainswithin the country which provides the opportunity and space for other powers feeling threatened to exploit to their advantage. Though India is blessed with a diverse society following common practices and way of life, unfortunately due to certain divisive narrative traditionally set by few ambitious and self-centred political leaders, the society starts to look as a fractured society. With nearly 3,000 major castes and 25,000 sub-castes in the Hindu religion besides nine recognised religions, 22 Constitutionally-recognised languages covering 29 states, gives a picture of lack of unity of ethos and a sense of integration leading to absence of a strong sense of a common national identity.
There is no dearth of pseudo armchair intellectuals, foreign funded NGOs and certain print and electronic media that become an extended arm of the inimical forces in creating internal turmoil to keep the country fragmented and the GoI on the backfoot, resultantly containing the path of progress and development of the nation.If India is aspiring to emerge as a global power by midcentury, then, undoubtedly, the current generation will have to understand the intricacies of the fifth-generation warfare and resolve to stand firmly behind the GoI to defeat the hidden enemy. Or else, nothing will change on the ground except the time in the clock and year in the calendar.
The author is a former Army Commander of South Western, Eastern and Central Army Commands