New Delhi. 19 April 2023. The first Army Commanders’ Conference of year 2023, commenced in a hybrid format on 17 April 2023. During the event, Indian Army’s apex leadership is comprehensively deliberating upon all aspects of existing security scenarios, situation along the borders and in the hinterland and challenges for the present security apparatus. In addition, the conference is also focussing on issues pertaining to organisational restructuring, logistics, administration and human resource management. The main highlight of the third day of the conference was the address by the Hon’ble Defence Minister, Mr. Rajnath Singh, to the senior leadership of the Indian Army, which was preceded by a brief on “IA contribution to Nation Building”

The Defence Minister reaffirmed the faith of the billion-plus citizens in the Indian Army as one of the most trusted and inspiring organisations in the country. He highlighted the stellar role played by the Army in guarding our borders and fighting terrorism apart from providing assistance to the civil administration whenever called for. The Defence Minister also remarked “The Army’s contribution is applaudable in every domain from Security, HADR, Medical Assistance to maintaining the stable internal situation in the country. The role of Indian Army is very important in Nation building as also in the overall national development”. He expressed his happiness to be present in the Army Commander’s conference and complimented the Army leadership for successfully taking ahead the ‘Defence and Security’ vision of the Nation and the Hon’ble Prime Minister.

The Hon’ble Defence Minister stressed upon the present complex world situation which effects everyone globally. He stated that “Unconventional and asymmetric warfare, including hybrid war will be part of the future conventional wars. Cyber, information, communication, trade and finance have all become an inseparable part of future conflicts. This necessitates that Armed Forces will have to keep all these facets in consideration while planning and formulating strategies”.

Commenting on the current situation along the Northern borders, the Hon’ble Defence Minister expressed full confidence in the Army for any contingency though, the ongoing talks for peaceful resolution will continue and disengagement and de-escalation, is the best way forward. Expressing his gratitude, he remarked “It is our ‘Whole of Government’ approach to ensure availability of best weapons, equipment and clothing to our troops braving extreme weather and hostile forces to defend our territorial integrity”. The Defence Minister complimented the efforts of BRO, which has led to the incomparable improvement of road communication in the borders both Western and Northern, while working under difficult conditions.

Referring to the situation along the Western borders, he complimented the Indian Army’s response to cross border terrorism, however the proxy war by the adversary continues. The Hon’ble Defence Minister said “I compliment the excellent synergy between the CAPF/ Police forces and the Army in tackling the menace of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. The synergised operations in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are contributing to increased stability and peace in the region and the same should continue, and for this I again compliment the Indian Army”.

The Defence Minister commended the Army for the high standard of operational preparedness and capabilities which he has always been experiencing first hand during his visits to forward areas. He also paid tributes to all the brave hearts for making the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of the motherland. He complimented the significant contributions made by the Army in military diplomacy to further our national security interests by creating sustainable cooperative relationships with foreign Armies. He also applauded Indian Army for its effort in providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Mission post earthquake in Turkey during ‘Operation Dost’.

Defence Minister stressed upon the technological advancement taking place in every sphere of our life and applauded the Armed Forces for aptly incorporating them. He appreciated the Army’s efforts to develop niche technologies in collaboration with civil industries, including premier educational institutions and thereby progressing towards the aim of ‘Modernisation through Indigenisation’ or ‘Atam Nirbharta’. He also stressed that as user we must impose our faith in own Industries and technologies which would inturn motivate the Industry to produce the best as also would boost ‘Atam Nirbharta’.

The Defence Minister also complemented the Army for its dedicated efforts towards the national vision of ‘Women Empowerment’ by grant of Permanent Commission and induction of women officers in most of the streams of Indian Army. He also complemented the Army in the execution of newly formulated recruitment scheme ‘Agniveers’ in the army as also the exuberance displayed by the youth of the county for the same.

Defence Minister released the second edition of Indian Army UN Journal titled ‘Blue Helmet Odessey- Changing Contours of Peacekeeping Operations in the 20th Century” which is a compilation of inputs from missions and perspectives by senior military leadership and diplomats and a commemorative postal stamp on the occasion of 75 years of Indian Army. The Defence Minister also reviewed an equipment display focusing on niche technology, innovation, solutions for surveillance, Artificial Intelligence, Training, Robotics, Virtual Reality, Operational Logistics etc.

He concluded by saying that issues related to “Defence diplomacy, indigenisation, information warfare, defence infrastructure and force modernisation should always be deliberated upon in such a forum. War preparedness should be a continuous phenomena and we should always be ready for unpredictables and uncertain events that may crop up any time. We should always be honing up our fighting skills and weapons technologies so as to act effectively whenever required for. The Nation is proud of its Army and the Government is committed to facilitate the Army in their forward movement, on the road to reforms and capability modernisation”.