Indian Army Vice Chief, Lieutenant General SK Saini, said on Wednesday that strategic security of most nations have been impacted due to reduction in funds for military capability, but some countries have used the opportunity to enhance their influence.
Saini made the remarks during his virtual address to the participants of the ‘National Defence Course Bangladesh on Security Challenges Post Covid–19 Pandemic’. He was speaking on eve of the anniversary of the start of the 1971 war between India and Pakistan that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
“Many countries fuelled by ultra-nationalism are experiencing accelerated process of de-globalisation leading to closing of borders for movement of goods, people, services and even ideas,” he said.
The Vice Chief also said that while countries are struggling to rein in the Covid-19 virus, certain countries have seized the opportunity to extend their influence militarily, economically and politically which does not augur well for the world community.
Saini had also attended the National Defence College Bangladesh in 2011.
His address covered the impact of coronavirus on the emerging world and focused on its impact on military, the security challenges and the ways and means to tackle them.
“Strategic security of most nations have been impacted due to reduction in funds for military capability and projects since vast sums of money have been diverted for urgent health requirements,” he said.
The talk by the Indian Vice Chief is a significant step in enhancing defence cooperation with Bangladesh which has remained a priority for the Indian Army given our historic, cultural and military affinity.
Commenting on future wars, the Vice Chief mentioned that future wars may gravitate towards zero cost wars, wherein a very virulent pathogen may immobilise high-technology arsenal.
He also mentioned that weaker militaries will continue to seek an asymmetric advantage in an unrestricted warfare milieu while “social media will continue to be the vector of choice for the battle of narratives”.
On the impact of Covid-19 on military, Saini spoke on its impact on force readiness, training, operational logistics and human resource issues.
“Force sustainment is a challenge due to delays in delivery schedules owing to production halts and workforce disruptions.
Suggesting recommendations for the post Covid era to the future senior military leadership attending the course, Saini emphasised that the militaries of the region must evolve a defence cooperation plan since they will become the first responders during such health disasters.
He also called for technology-enabled solutions for integrated identification, control and management of such threats.
The Vice Chief stressed on the need to re-invigorate the defence industrial base to meet sustainment and modernisation needs and to focus on “force preservation and readiness by giving a fresh impetus to health security”.
“Use of technology in training, development of digital communication and sharing of best practices among militaries must be the focus to tackle challenges associated with Covid-19,” he said.
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