India Must Invest in Modernisation of its Armed Forces. Aatmanirbharta, Make in India are Offshoot of Our Strategic Culture: IAF Chief

Indian Air Force

New Delhi: Delivering a keynote address at the seminar, hosted by the Indian Air Force (IAF), College of Air Warfare (CAW) and Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) to mark the culmination of the third Warfare & Aerospace Strategy Programme (WASP), IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) V R Chaudhari said, “The contemporary security landscape presents “multi-faceted challenges” from border disputes and terrorism to cyber threats and regional volatility, and India must invest in modernisation of its armed forces to navigate through these turbulent times.”

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IAF Chief also said modern warfare is characterised by rapid technological advancements, asymmetric threats and the need for a comprehensive understanding of geopolitical, social and cultural contexts. His remarks come amid the backdrop of evolving geopolitics with conflicts being seen in some of the regions of the world.

“WASP has refined the definition of scholar warriors. A scholar warrior is a military professional who combines intellectual acumen with combat prowess in today’s increasingly complex and dynamic security environment,” IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) V R Chaudhari said.

He also invoked the words of ancient Greek historian Thucydides to emphasise the point,  who said “The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools”.

The Air Chief, talking of India’s strategic culture, said that it is shaped by historical experiences and the ever-evolving geopolitical environment. “It emphasises strategic autonomy, caution and a strong focus on territorial integrity,” he added.

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India’s strategic thinking can be traced back to the ancient texts like the Arthashastra written around the 4th century BC, the Air Chief underlined. It emphasised realpolitik and strategic pragmatism, “shades of which are visible today in every way we are dealing with contemporary issues”.

He said, “Aatmanirbharta (self-dependence) and Make in India are, therefore, an “offshoot of our strategic culture and a key towards preserving national security.” Adding, “Whether India has a strategic culture or not is a matter of opinion, however, realpolitik, statecraft and diplomacy have always been a part of our historical tapestry and have shaped contemporary geopolitics.”

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Among other, the event was also attended by various air warriors, retired senior officers of the IAF and scholars. This edition of WASP saw tri-services participation for the first time with 14 officers from IAF, two officers from the Navy, one from the Army and one civilian researcher. The graduates of the programme were awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Studies by Rashtriya Raksha University.