Indian Army chief General Manoj Pande delivers keynote address at IIM-Nagpur, says country’s security and progress intertwined

Team India Sentinels Saturday 16th of December 2023 10:49 PM

General Manoj Pande. (File photo)

Nagpur: The chief of Army staff, General Manoj Pande, delivered a keynote address at the Indian Institute of Management, Nagpur, on Saturday. In his broad speech, he painted a compelling picture of how national security and economic progress walk hand-in-hand in shaping a nation’s rise.

He also offered a glimpse into the Indian Army’s role in shaping India’s path in navigating the complex geopolitical landscape of the 21st century.

Gen Pande said a nation’s prosperity hinges on its comprehensive national power. This multifaceted equation balances economic might, military strength, technological prowess, and a steadfast commitment to national interests. The Army chief said an “aspirational demographic dividend”, coupled with cost advantages and policy reforms, has propelled India to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, which shows its economic vitality.

However, Gen Pande cautioned against neglecting military strength by emphasizing its critical role in securing and expanding national interests.

He said there is a symbiotic relationship between security and progress. Explaining this, he said a secure environment fosters economic growth, attracts investments, and promotes stability. Conversely, economic progress facilitates resource allocation for robust security.

However, he stressed that striking the right balance between strengthening security while making economic progress is crucial. He said over-militarization could stifle economic development, while neglecting security jeopardizes prosperity.

In his speech, Gen Pande acknowledged India’s remarkable journey [since Independence]. He said India’s new assertive foreign policy, championing of initiatives, like the International Solar Alliance, and advancements in space technology and missile programs project the country as a responsible power on the global stage. However, he emphasized that this rise comes with its own set of challenges. He said as India’s influence expands, some countries may contest or attempt to compete with it, which makes it imperative for New Delhi to have a resolute focus on safeguarding national interests.

On threats from multiple fronts, the Army chief said while traditional border disputes persist, there is a need to be prepared for emerging threats from new domains.

He said the increasing weaponization of space, cyberattacks, and disinformation campaigns demand constant vigilance and adaptation. He added that grey-zone tactics, like proxy wars and economic pressure, add another layer of complexity to the modern security landscape.

Assuring the country that the Indian Army stands as a robust shield against these threats, Gen Pande said proactive measures, continuous capability enhancement, and an all-inclusive approach to security remain the force’s guiding principles. He emphasized the importance of synergy with other government agencies, highlighting collaborative efforts with the electronics and information technology ministry (MeitY) on cybersecurity and IITs on technological innovation.

Gen Pande then switched from the Army’s role in traditional defence of the nation to its contribution to nation-building. He highlighted the Army’s sterling role from constructing border roads and bridges that bolstered connectivity in remote regions to empowering local communities through skill development and healthcare initiatives.


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