Author : Gurmeet Kanwal

Issue BriefsPublished on Jan 20, 2005 PDF Download
ballistic missiles,Defense,Doctrine,North Korea,Nuclear,PLA,SLBM,Submarines

Defence Planning in India

It is generally acknowledged that the approach to national security requires a comprehensive view of various political, social, economic, technological and strategic aspects. National security implies not only safeguarding territorial boundaries but also that the nation is able to build a cohesive, egalitarian, technologically efficient and progressive society with a good quality of life. Compared with national security, defence policy is more focussed, concerned with the protection of the state and its citizens from direct and indirect (proxy) military threats and actions of other states. In defence planning, the emphasis shifts to national security concerns that are mainly military in nature.

There are two concepts at this level: deterrence (including coercive diplomacy) and defence (dissuasion). Deterrence refers to policies designed to discourage the adversary from taking direct or proxy military action, by raising the cost so that it outweighs the gains that he may wish to attain. Defence (dissuasion) policies are designed to reduce the capability of the adversary to cause damage—and own costs and risks—in the event deterrence fails. Deterrence and defence are two interwoven strands of defence policy. Defence planning involves the conceptualisation of plans and decisions for the execution of defence policy.

Long-term planning for defence is essential for the following reasons:

(a) The existence of a highly fluid strategic environment, which results in continuous
shifts and changing profiles of threat and power equations.

(b) To ensure judicious allocation of resources and cost effective utilisation.

(c) Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), i.e. advances in technology, which result in weapons and equipment systems becoming obsolete at a fast rate.

(d) Lead time required to raise and prepare defence units; to produce or acquire and introduce new weapons and equipment systems.

(e) The changing nature of conflict and reduced reaction time.

(f) Coordination problems between defence, economic, science and technology, infrastructure and industrial activities, as well as among the Defence Forces.

The defence planning process attempts to match the budgetary resources likely to be made available for the requirement to establish the defence capability necessary to face the threats and challenges. This exercise is undertaken in two phases:

(a) What should be the proportion allocated to the defence effort as against other areas of national security concerns and economic growth? This exercise involves a ‘visionary’ analysis of external and internal security threats (often linked) and challenges. In order to minimise adverse affects of high military expenditure on socio-economic development, it is necessary to harmonise national development planning with defence planning.

(b) Optimisation of allocated resources, i.e. distribution of resources within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) based on Force planning (Force and weapons mix, command and control, logistics and human resources management) by the Defence Services to combat current and future threats, and development of required capabilities by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), defence production and other agencies concerned. The quantum of indigenous production and the requirements to be procured from outside are decided in this phase. The objective is to achieve maximum defence capability from the given resources.

Both allocation and distribution are closely linked. They need to be reviewed periodically but not so frequently that the planning process becomes ad hoc. In India’s case, this is done at five-year intervals. 

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