Sat. Oct 1st, 2022
india defence

During a congressional hearing, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official stated that India plans to deploy the Russian-made S-400 missile defence system by next month to defend itself against Pakistani and Chinese threats as part of an extensive military modernization effort encompassing air, ground, naval, and strategic nuclear forces.

During a recent Congressional hearing, Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that India began receiving the S-400 missile defence system from Russia in December last year.

India’s military was looking to buy advanced surveillance equipment in October 2021 in order to fortify its land and maritime borders and improve its offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.

Mr. Berrier stated, “India received its first supply of the Russian S-400 air defence system in December, and it plans to operate the system to guard against Pakistani and Chinese threats by June 2022.”

“In 2021, India conducted many tests on its own hypersonic, ballistic, cruise, and air defence missile capabilities.” India is increasing the number of satellites in orbit and boosting its use of space assets, indicating that it is seeking offensive space capabilities,” he added.

Mr. Berrier told the MPs that New Delhi is working on a large-scale military modernization programme that includes air, ground, naval, and strategic nuclear forces, with a focus on local defence industry.

India is taking moves to establish Integrated Theatre Commands, which will help the country’s three armed forces work together more effectively.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it a priority to enhance India’s economy by strengthening the domestic defence sector and implementing a negative import list to limit defence purchases from foreign suppliers from 2019.

“India’s long-standing defence cooperation with Russia is robust, with the two countries conducting their first ‘2+2’ format discussions in December – a combined foreign and defence ministerial meeting that India had previously only conducted with the US, Japan, and Australia.”

Mr. Berrier told the legislators, “India has maintained a neutral posture on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and continues to appeal for peace.”

Mr. Berrier claims that during 2021, New Delhi pursued a foreign strategy intended at showing India’s place as a major state and a net contributor of security in the Indian Ocean area.

India wants strategic relationships to enhance influence through bilateral and multilateral platforms like the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he added, in order to promote prosperity and guarantee peace in the Indo-Pacific region.

Mr. Berrier stated, “New Delhi aspires to strengthen intelligence and operational collaboration on cybersecurity, defend important information infrastructure, prevent enemy public opinion manipulation, and set standards and norms that preserve and secure data governance.”

New Delhi is increasingly concerned about prospective strikes on India by Pakistan-based terrorist organisations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, which are aided by a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, he added.

According to him, the withdrawal of Indian forces from Afghanistan harmed the country’s capacity to monitor prospective threats and exert influence over regional peace.

Despite recommitting to the 2003 truce, India remains prepared to respond to perceived terrorist threats, and counterterrorism operations in Kashmir have persisted, according to Mr. Berrier.

“Occasional skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani soldiers will persist, and a high-profile strike in India by Pakistan-based terrorists threatens a military reaction from India,” he warned.

Mr. Berrier stated that ties between China and India are still tense following tragic confrontations between their respective armies along the Line of Actual Control in summer 2020. (LAC).

Both parties had many rounds of high-level diplomatic and military discussions in 2021, which culminated in a mutual withdrawal of soldiers from key stalemate locations.

Mr. Berrier added that both sides maintain close to 50,000 troops, as well as artillery, tanks, and multiple rocket launchers, and that both sides are developing infrastructure along the LAC.

By adele rose

Adele Rose is the senior editor and employee of WGBS Pvt Ltd Digital wing.

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