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India’s security would be maintained in ‘extended neighbourhood’ as well: Gen Rawat

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File photo. (PTI)

NEW DELHI: In the emerging defence paradigm, India’s security would be maintained not only along the northern and western borders but in the strategic space of the “extended neighbourhood” as well, Chief of Defence Staff

Gen Bipin Rawat

said on Saturday.

He also said that India values its emerging relationship with the US and cherishes its traditional relationship with Russia, adding the country shares a mature and robust defence and security framework with both these powers.

Addressing a symposium on defence exports, Gen Rawat said the

armed forces

will have to work through the budgetary constraints by finding the best solutions through new acquisitions and optimisation considering the macro-economic parameters.

Referring to proposed reforms in the

military structure

, Gen Rawat said the Chief of Defence Staff and the theatre commanders would “conjointly” provide “unity of command” while the service headquarters and the “component commanders” could provide “unity of effort”.

Under a big-ticket reform initiative, India is working on setting up of a number of theatre commands, integrating some of the commands of the three services, to deal with future security challenges facing the country.

Each of the theatre commands will have units of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and all of them will work as a single entity looking after security challenges in a specified geographical territory under an operational commander.

The government had appointed Gen Rawat as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff on December 31 last year to bring synergy in the functioning of the three services.

Talking about the regional security paradigm, he touched upon key aspects of India’s security doctrine. In this context, he mentioned International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) with

Pakistan

as about Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

“In the emerging security paradigm, India’s security would be maintained not, as hitherto, on the IB, LC or the LAC alone, but in the strategic space of the ‘extended neighbourhood’ and the ‘strategic frontier’,” he said without elaborating further.

India has been ramping up defence and security ties with a number of countries in its extended neighbourhood like Indonesia,

Singapore

and several countries in the Gulf region in the last few years.

Delving into the evolving security matrix in the region, the Chief of Defence Staff pitched for seamless integration of surveillance and communication resources of the three services, saying such a convergence is essential for evolving a framework for having a composite real-time air situation “picture”.

Gen Rawat said robust interaction between the CDS, COSC (Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee) and political executive (Cabinet Committee on Security) must ensure single-point military advice, strategic direction and resource optimisation.

On the modernisation of the Indian armed forces, he said it has been in line with the changing global security environment and with a focus on the utmost optimisation of resources.

“We are witnessing seismic changes in geopolitics shaped by a ‘nation first’ approach and geo-economics,” he said, adding the armed forces should be structured in a manner that they provide the operational flexibility to pursue “wider strategic objectives”.

The country’s first CDS also said the pursuit of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, big data analytics, drone technology, militarisation of space, quantum communications, along with manipulation of social media is leading to new threats, and further complicating the security environment.

He said the asymmetric advantages created by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being seen as opportunities by non-state actors, adding future defence systems must be qualitatively and quantitatively capable of dealing with the new threats.

“In this era of multidimensional technology, we must focus on constant innovations and modern technological solutions, to keep ourselves ahead of the adversaries,” he said.

Gen Rawat said the creation of the Department of Military Affairs headed by the CDS, having a central staffing scheme along with amendments to the business rules, in effect, admits the military into the central edifice of the government of India.

“This restructuring of the Ministry of Defence gives us the opportunity to embrace forward-looking strategies to seize and exploit the moment and set in motion a dynamic transformation process,” he said.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Govt will need 80,000 crore for Covid vaccine, says Serum CEO

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MUMBAI: The government may need Rs 80,000 crore over the next one year for distribution of Covid-19 vaccine and immunization of the country’s population, Adar Poonawalla, CEO and promoter of the world’s largest vaccine producer, Serum Institute, said on Saturday.

Calling it the “next concerning challenge”, which needs to be tackled, Poonawalla posted a tweet tagging the Prime Minister’s Office, which read: “We need to plan and guide vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution.”

Serum has tie ups with global manufacturers AstraZeneca and Novavax for potential Covid-19 vaccines, which are currently undergoing clinical trials. The tweet, perceived by many as alarming, also raised concerns over the government’s ability to fund the massive vaccine programme.

“The government has assured that there will be plenty of funds available for vaccines. We have now been assured by the highest levels in the government that enough funds will be available for vaccine procurement, supply and logistics. This is good news,” Poonawalla told TOI, when contacted.

While addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday PM Modi said that as the world’s largest vaccine producing country, India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help people across the world.

Although further details on Poonawala’s calculations were not immediately available, sources said, it could be assuming the benchmark price of $3-5 per dose, and including two doses for the over 1.3 billion population.

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INDIA

Congress may rope in Prashant Kishor for 2022 Punjab election

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NEW DELHI: Pollster Prashant Kishor may get to manage Congress in the Punjab elections scheduled for early 2022. Party sources said CM Amarinder Singh is in talks with the former JD(U) member and election strategist, and a decision may be announced soon.

While Kishor is likely to get the contract for advance poll planning in the state, Congress members said he could even get an official perch to manage the affairs. Kishor had widely been credited with helping Congress ride back to power in the state in 2017. A senior AICC manager said the talks are being held by the chief minister and that the party is not involved in the negotiations.

While speculations about Kishor coming on board the Congress campaign in Punjab have been on for a while, it is only now it appears to be reaching a finality. Having been expelled from JD(U) following a scrap with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Kishor is said to be on the lookout for a new political platform – a reason why there are also speculations that he is looking for an entry in Congress.

Well-placed sources in Congress said Kishor has a direct line with the Gandhi siblings, a reason why not many are willing to hazard a guess about the pollster. There is some confusion in Congress ranks about Kishor.

Sources said a possible reason for CM Singh to get Kishor on board in Punjab would be to ensure that he does not work for Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, which is set to make a strong pitch in the state in the next polls.

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INDIA

India slams Pakistan PM at UNGA for terror export

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NEW DELHI: After Pakistan PM Imran Khan again raised the Kashmir issue at UNGA, India slammed Pakistan saying terrorism was its only crowning glory. Exercising its Right of Reply, the Indian mission also accused Khan of warmongering and of using the multilateral forum to spread lies, misinformation and malice.

“This august forum witnessed a new low on its 75th anniversary. The leader of Pakistan today called for those who incite hate and violence to be outlawed. But as he went on, we were left wondering, was he referring to himself?” said Mijito Vinito, the first secretary in the permanent mission of India to the UN, Mijito Vinito, exercising India’s Right of Reply.

The only crowning glory, he said, that this country has to show to the world for the last 70 years is terrorism, ethnic cleansing, majoritarian fundamentalism and clandestine nuclear trade. “This hall heard the incessant rant of someone who had nothing to show for himself, who had no achievements to speak of and no reasonable suggestion to offer to the world. Instead, we saw lies, misinformation, war mongering and malice spread through this Assembly,” he added.

Pakistan later exercised its right of reply too, in which it claimed that Jammu & Kashmir was never a part of India. Alluding to the “stellar record” of Pakistan, Vinito said this is the country that has the “dubious distinction” of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the United Nations, a reference to terror masterminds such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) head Masood Azhar.

“This is the same country that provides pensions for dreaded and listed terrorists out of state funds. The leader whom we heard today is the same person who referred to terrorist Osama Bin Laden as a ‘martyr’ in the Pakistani Parliament in July,” Vinito said.

He added that it is Pakistan that brought genocide to south Asia 39 years ago when it killed its own people and it is also the country that is “shameless enough” not to offer a sincere apology for the horrors it perpetratedeven after so many years. India asserted in its Right of Reply that Khan, “who spewed venom today”, admitted in 2019 in public in the US that his country still has about 30,000-40,000 terrorists, who have been trained by Pakistan and have fought in Afghanistan and in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

“This is the country that has systematically cleansed its minorities , including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and others, through the abuse of its blasphemy laws and through forced religious conversions,” Vinito said.

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