New Delhi: Till now, India’s war doctrine hinged on a possible two-pronged adversarial scenario keeping just Pakistan and China in mind. A key landmark change may now be underway with another front to counter the increasing naval threat from the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal being factored in to move to a three-pronged war doctrine.
The top-secret proposal has been sparked off due to recent developments in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) which has become a hub of military activity where ships and submarines of many nations prowl.
Reports already speak of a nuclear Chinese submarine having docked in Karachi harbour in May last year and then being spotted by satellites in the Malacca Straits in June. Chinese subs have also been spotted in and around Gwadar port in Pakistan which is the key entry point to the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC).
This newspaper has learnt from reliable sources that the proposal was actively deliberated and considered in the annual combined commanders’ conference held in the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun from January 21.
Besides Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, Air Force chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa and key commanders from the three forces, the meet was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defense minister Manohar Parrikar, national security adviser Ajit Doval and others.
The new doctrine proposal is learnt to be in the drafting stage now under the aegis of the Integrated Defense Services headquarters. Subsequent to its framing, the doctrine will be deliberated upon and all stakeholders consulted before it is finally approved and adopted as a doctrine.
Besides the armed forces, the NSA will also have a key word. There is, therefore, a feeling in relevant circles that the military assets in the southern part of the country need to be buttressed, a region that has been relatively neglected with the armed forces mainly focused in the eastern, western and northern fronts.
In the backdrop of a thinking in the defense ministry to reorganize India’s defense forces into theater commands, a three-pronged doctrine will result in creating and re-positioning military assets in an unprecedented scale.
Another core item discussed was the importance and need for a separate unified aerospace command. This proposal acquires significance in the light of China making rapid strides in space-based warfare.