Monday, May 16, 2016

Restructuring of Indian Military: An Unavoidable Choice for Modern Hybrid Wars

  1.  Govt has recently ordered a study to propose restructuring of Indian Military to cut its flab to make it a more potent force. My Views in brief are given below.
  2. Following key factors not known:
    1. Geo Political Objective of Govt of India if given or not?
    2. Terms of references?
  3. With specific reference to India, following changes in geo-strategic scenarios, threats/ nature of conflicts within Indian sphere of interests, are discernible: 
    1. Global power balance is transforming from USA led uni-polar world to bipolar world. Russia and China together are challenging uni-polarity. Early indicators of impending major conflicts are already visible. 
    2. Cold war has returned with proxies fighting in battles in dynamic forward zones with much more use of sophisticated and intelligent weapon systems.
    3. Major global powers and military blocks are gearing up for a long drawn technology intensive multi dimensional dynamic hybrid wars (these hybrid wars also include intense economic, trade and cyber conflicts). Military budgets of all major sub regional, regional and global powers are seeing unprecedented rises.  
    4. India in present shape is highly vulnerable and not in position to create an independent power center. Sooner or later most likely will be sucked by a power block if an intense conflict breaks out.  
    5. USA and NATO military powers are showing signs of retreat and fatigue. Power vacuum being created is giving birth to many non state regional players and many of them as proxies. Indian security is vulnerable if situation spins out of hands. 
    6.  USA and NATO are showing hesitation in joining conflicts at three theater wars which Russian and Chinese strategy appears to pose. USA and NATO may not be able to win three theater wars unless regional powers like India & Pakistan join them.  For Asia Pacific Theater of war, Indian support to USA will tilt geo-strategic balance in their favor. Pakistan carries similar importance to USA for wars in West Asia and Central Asian Theater. 
    7. Indian economic frontiers extent up to middle east which are presently under turmoil. In-spite of her desire, except few accomodative gestures, USA will not be able to ignore Pakistan which has been her major ally in the region. USA may use influence of Saudi Arabia to manage Pakistan and give  some space to India. In the given situation India may have to assert herself in the region to safeguard her economic frontiers. 
    8. China, Pakistan and USA/ NATO have capabilities and interests to fuel insurgencies in fragile India if required. Emerging India trying to assert herself independently will be closely contested by these regional and global superpowers. Bipolarity in over next 50-60 years appears to be a reality till world settles to multi-polar world . Any attempt by India to come out of shadow to assert herself will draw her into conflicts. With growing economic frontiers India has no choice except to create a sphere of influence for herself and for same a very strong military is required.
    9. Pakistan will remain hostile to India and no headway on Kashmir is likely  in next 30 years. Pakistan will use this dispute and her emerging relations with China as bargain with USA. Fact is, for India, it is better if Pakistan remains with USA than switching sides to China. Hostile China will prove to be costly for India if Pakistan allies with her. In given situation wherein Pakistan is too vulnerable due to her internal violent fault lines, her chances of switching sides to China to oppose USA appears to be bleak.  US Pak friendship strategically is more compulsive in nature than being natural. Pak loyalty to US will always remain suspect. 
    10. China India dispute is one which can be easily resolved and It is more in Indian interests to do so. India must try securing her eastern flanks. Moving into intense phase of cold war with border dispute with China may be highly dangerous for Indian security. 
    11. Indian ocean is heating up and witnessing major naval movements. 
    12. USA/ NATO and Russia/ China as a strategy will like to fight first phase of major conflicts away from their physical borders in crowded Asian region. Crowded Asian Regions are likely to heat up with some eruptions of conflicts. Bangladesh, Nepal, NE and Indian Bengal are likely flash points. If these flash points are clubbed with RED Corridor and sensitive zone along Nepal, India naturally will be most vulnerable and affected.
    13. Emergency plans of west to depopulate crowded Asian regions including India can not be ignored. 
    14. Russia and China are luring countries like Germany, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to soften up their hotality towards them and intergrate with proposed economic development corridors.
  4. Considering rapid changes in security scenarios, onset of Cold-war and emergence of  long drawn hybrid wars on battled field landscape, following functional capability parameters  should be inherent to the Indian Military restructuring: 
    1.  Indian defense forces needs to be upgraded to become fully functional military capable of protecting economic frontiers going well beyond physical borders.
    2. In spite of nuke deterrence low to medium intensity spectrum of hybrid wars clubbed with proxies pose real threats .
    3. Indian military shall be capable of fighting a Hybrid War under shadow of nuclear threat over a protracted period in an integrated manner. The present concept of a short term war therefore needs to be reviewed.
    4. Hybrid wars may have to shift focus from territory-centric to threat-centric. 
    5. There may be need to orient troops for inter-oparability with military of friendly countries.
    6. Military shall be capable of conducting a swift dynamic mobile operations in multiple theaters of operations  including sea. 
    7. Military shall be able to achieve battle field transparency  in strategic depths.
    8. Military shall be able to quickly group, regroup  and switch forces not only within tactical operation areas but also inter theater commands.
    9. Military shall be able to carry out strategic penetrations and envelopment in 8 dimensions of strategic intelligence, behind enemy lines including population, space, air, land, sea including sea to land ops, cyber and  electronic space to establish superior military situation to get favorable political outcomes .  
    10. Military shall be capable to send at least one expeditionary force to defend economic frontiers..
    11. Military shall always maintain technological superiority over potential adversaries. Superior technological intervention is an essential ingredient for modern wars to be won.
    12. Military shall be able to launch counter offensive swiftly after absorbing shock of nuke strikes and create a favorable military situation. 
    13. Military logistics shall be able to support military operations adopting to an integrated dynamic grid and in exclusive integrated manner to expeditionary force.
    14. Nation needs to evolve a war mobilizations plans for short- medium and long term national wars including managing foreign sponsored  insurgencies within. 
    15. Defense Industrial manufacturing and logistics bases needs to be developed on war footing to curtail foreign dependencies for all critical supplies. . 
    16. Indian military shall be capable to manage 3-4 possible insurgencies and 2-3 front hybrid wars in short, medium and long term time perceptive.
    17. At Doctrinal level Military needs to switch from present "strategy of creating favorable military situation in a short war for political leadership to speak from some strength" to "capable of fighting a long term hybrid over 15-20 years to exhaust adversary to bring a favorable political or economical settlement of a dispute or objective". 
    18. Structure military strength in manner so that is capable of meeting
      1. Immediate and short term and medium term threats by creating a standing military strength with suitable reserves to manage one front short war with Pakistan, management of effective aggressive defensive postures on eastern front, effective sea surveillance of Indian Ocean with potent sea denial capabilities close to coasts  with capabilities to manage eruption of 2-3 insurgencies within. Such force shall be capable of meeting 1-2 short term high intensity battles at 2-3 operation zones. 
      2. For long term threat, increase military capabilities by mobilizations of reserve  resources to fight 2 front wars over 2-3 years ( China and Pakistan both). Create TAs and mothballed units which could be mobilized in 3-4  months time frame to increase strength of army to meet the threat. Logistics lines should accordingly be structured.
      3. Capable of sending one expeditionary force to protect national economic frontiers wit or without friendly forces. 
    19. Create supporting regulatory framework for fighting wars in Internal Security mode. AFSPA is an incomplete law without any provisions for investigations, prosecutions and quick judicial trials. Defence of India Act and Rules therefore, shall be suitably modified to employ military in Internal Security. 
  5.  With above scenario and assumptions in reference to military capabilities in mind and also need of economy of efforts, restructuring focus in following areas are envisaged
    1. Create a integrated national command center (static and mobile) capable of surviving nuclear hits under PM with staff drawn from all three services, Intelligence agencies, key ministries including Finance, DRDO and bureaucracy.  Operation of such command center be managed by military. 
    2. Create a post of national military adviser/ CDS with a HQ, who shall be responsible for developing war doctrines, advise Govt on all affairs of Military and also conduct military diplomacy.  a Police officer or career diplomat as NSA is not suitable for this job due to obvious reasons. It will be in addition to NSA. 
    3. Integrate MOD and Ministry of Foreign Affairs staffed with defense officers. Let us not forget military is a tool of foreign policy of a nation. Foreign Ministry shall not work in isolation. Military diplomacy provides more options to political diplomacy and it shall work in tandem and make best use of military strengths. 
    4.  Operationally Integrate Army, Air Force and Naval HQ under one umbrella under CDS from national command center down to Corps/ operations levels keeping training and administration HQ separate under respective Chiefs.
    5.  All distinct operational command of three services be abolished and merged  into theater commands like under
      1. One Theater Command for sea operations against Pakistan including land forces stationed in coastal areas of Gujrat. 
      2. One Theater Command for desert and plains of Rajasthan and Punjab for mob operations. All forces under this command be mechanized and shall be capable to undertake strategic maneuvers under nuke threat. .
      3. One Theater command for mountainous regions of J&K against Pakistan.
      4. One Theater command In Mountainous regions of J&K, HP and UP against China
      5. One Theater command for NE.
      6. One Theater command for Bay of Bengal including coast lines with Bangladesh.
      7. One Theater command for Southern coast.
      8. One expeditionary force (Marines) 
      9. One special operations force including air borne and air landing operations. 
      10. One cyber warfare force
      11. One EW & Space force.
      12. One Strategic Nuclear Command
      13. One Internal security command. All Area HQ be abolished. Create one sub area for each state only for civil liaison and ad to civil  authority with no logistics and administrative tasks. IS Command shall also provide leadership cover to PMF forces. All Disaster Management, Ad to Civil Authority and internal military intelligence be part of responsibility of this command. 
      14. Four Training Commands one for joint training and three for for respective services.
      15. Three integrated Op Logistic Commands for Western, Eastern and Southern fronts. All station HQ and logistics elements to work under logistics command. 
      16. Three Administrative Commands for three respective services. . 
      17. All Commands be commanded by 4 star Generals and forces by a Lt Gen.
      18. Have an independent directorate under MOD to carry put operational audit of military. Annual report of such audit shall be submitted to Parliament, Govt, CDS and Respective Services Chiefs.
    6. Under respective commands, have integrated operational Corps HQs with Composite Task forces. Abolish Div HQ and have Bde HQ with enhances capabilities named as Composite Task Force directly under Corp HQ. Corps HQ be commanded by Lt Gen and Composite Task forces be commanded by a Maj Gens. 
    7. Only in areas where no Corps sized force is required have Integrated Div HQs commanded by Maj Gen.
    8. Abolish all logistics elements as integrated with HQ Corps, Divs and Bde now and create a system of attachment of all op units with elements  of integrated op logistics command. It will create better logistics management and cut down flab. 
    9. All forces like BSF, ITBP etc for border management, CI duties and war be under command military or Internal Security Command as the case may be. Integrated battle in forward zone is very critical to detect, delay and discern enemy intentions. PMF led by IPS officers will fail to do such task if not integrated with military tactical plans. Therefore these forces be carved out of army persons retiring young. IPS be withdrawn from these forces. Internal Security Command should coordinate entire operations and can be placed under home ministry. This will bring internal security and ad to civil authority tasks under home ministry and will yield better results. As 4 Star General commanding IS Command be part of National Command Center, it will create better synergy during war and peace.  This measure itself will cut heavy national pension cost.   
    10. Another big debate is that shall Infantry Bns have 3 assault companies or 4 assault companies? If the fighting capabilities, firepower, weapon, transport and equipment profile of Inf Bn is enhanced as per NATO profile than organisation can opt for three assault companies, one spl ops company and one fire support company. One assault company and administrative company can be reduced. Remember now composite task force commanded by a Maj Gen has replaced Bde HQs and it has threat centric compsit forces under it. Therefore in a given sector net fire power actually gets enhanced bringing more punch, reserves and reduces logistics flab. 
    11. Structure of composite task forces working directly under Corps HQ shall be op and threat specific and will depend sector to sector.
    12. As Military operates in international space there is need to create manpower profile as per international protocols. There are certain aberrations which has set in our defense forces like
      1. Rifle companies in most professional armies are commanded by Captains/ Majors and in our case these are commanded by Lt Col. It creates a very awkward situation and has no justification in terms of operational needs and international protocols. 
      2. Brigadier in most armies are equated with top most ech of civil bureaucracy.  Like in USA, a Brigadier is equated with SEO level civil servants. SEO level civil servants of USA are, in terms of protocol equal to HAG and Apex Grade of IAS of India. So a Brigadier of US army is actually as per international protocol equivalent to HAG and Apex Grade IAS officer of Indian army but shockingly our own Brigadier is not treated at par with them. This creates an anomaly which has serious repercussions in war while treating prisoners of war. 
      3. In most armies Bn are commanded by selection grade Lt Col whereas in our army these are commanded by Colonel. Actually in operational terms Col and Brigadiers are stroke ranks. Col in most armies are used for key staff appointments. Indian must revert to Lt Col commanding Bns. It is correct in terms of operational needs and also international protocols. 
      4. JCO is a gazetted rank. Shockingly they are paid as non gazetted officers. There is a need to elevate the status of JCOs equivalent to class B gazetted officers and they shall be treated as normal commissioned officers may be silver badges and be member of officers messes. By law NCOs of army exercise powers of highest levels of Non gazetted ranks. Present JCOs mess shall be converted as NCOs mess. NCO shall be paid as equal to SUB inspector of police. Under AFSPA or military laws in relation to powers of arrest, powers of NCOs to arrest and order fire are same and more than Sub Inspector of Police.
    13. Pay, pensions, status, resettlement, family welfare and welfare of soldiers has been a sore point which directly relates to the moral of troops. India can not linger on this contentious issue making soldiers to agitate. Following shall be done:
      1. Constitute a standing military commission to manage all subject issues. 
      2. Bring relevant acts and rules for service conditions of soldiers as envisaged in constitution.  All other govt services have such regulatory framework except military soldiers. Absence of such laws, promote adhocism and lead to unnecessary litigation. Such bill will define words like "Commissioned Officer" and also provide framework for constitution of Military Commission. 
      3. In relation to pay and pension the policy framework provided by Nehru Govt just after independence to create a relationship with civil compensation, shall be followed. It may be suitably modified adhering to best practices of average salary indexes based on length of service and comprehensive career compensations of soldiers not being less than civilian.   
    14. A separate bill shall also define method of execution of Commanding Authority by Supreme Cdr of Defense Forces.  Right now though constitution makes him the supreme commander but a legal framework is missing to define same.
  6. Let us not forget our defense forces are still working on WWII model and need up-gradation to make it a modern potent force which are highly agile and cost effective and yet deliver a death punch.  The above analysis is based on information as available in open source media. Actual strength can only be worked out by those who are privy to threat assessments. Fact is nation needs a cost effective defense mechanism which gives best value for money and nation must work for it.  Restructuring Indian Military thus is an unavoidable choice to meet the face of modern hybrid wars. Fear of coup has been bit too much overplayed by bureaucracy to scare politicians due to obvious reasons. Let us not forget the soldiers have track records to prove their commitments to their oaths and loyalty to constitution and democracy. Such fears shall not prevent creation of a professional military which can support the extension of justified economic and political sphere of the nation. Military is not only protectorate of physical borders, but it is also an essential enabler of growth of a trillion dollar economic.