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General Overview

The first decade of the 21st century has made it increasingly evident that security threats are unconstrained by borders. Each of India's neighbours is undergoing a transition, giving rise to varied political experiences and experiments. The menace of terrorism and proliferation of arms, drugs and nuclear technology pose dangers that merit constant attention.

The developments in 2008, particularly the challenges confronting the global financial system, created unprecedented strains in the global security environment.

The continuing links of extremist and terrorist organisations with organs of the Pakistan State adds greater complexities and dangers to the evolving situation confronting us. Strengthening of our security apparatus both internally and on our frontiers is, therefore, a national priority of the highest order.

China's stated objectives, in their White Paper, of developing strategic missile and space-based assets and of rapidly enhancing its blue-water navy to conduct operations in distant waters, as well as the systematic upgrading of infrastructure, reconnaissance and surveillance, quick response and operational capabilities in the border areas, need to be monitored carefully in the foreseeable future for the implications that it can have on the security and defence of India. Similarly, its military assistance and cooperation with Pakistan, including the possibility of enhancing connectivity with Pakistan through the territory illegally occupied by Pakistan in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, will also have direct military implications for India.

India's credible minimum deterrence plays an important role in the regional security calculus. While maintaining a posture of minimum deterrence, India has announced a policy of no-first-use and a policy of non-use against non-nuclear weapon states. India also continues to maintain a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.

The need for enhanced maritime security has to be seen in the backdrop of a long coastline facing the Arabian Sea on the West, the Bay of Bengal to the east and the vast Indian Ocean in the South. Increased economic activity along the coast and the growth of major towns has heightened this necessity.

Over the recent years, maritime issues like the security of sea-lanes, piracy on the high seas, energy security, WMD, terrorism etc. have become important elements in India's security. The Indian Navy has played an outstanding role in curbing piracy in parts of Indian Ocean. The Mumbai terror attacks have once again highlighted the importance of the maritime dimension in India's security.

With a steadily growing economy, India has a vital stake in a safe and secure world. India has become a driver of the global growth and prosperity. A strong defence force is a necessary prerequisite for growth, stability and peace. India has been committed to prepare its level of defence preparedness to deter any type of threat both conventional as well as unconventional.

The Supreme command of the Armed Forces vests in the President of India. The responsibility for national defence, however, rests with the Cabinet. The Defence Minister (Raksha Mantri) is responsible to Parliament for all matters concerning defence of the country. Administrative and operational control of the armed forces is exercised by the Ministry of Defence and the three Service Headquarters.

Basic Functions and Organisations

The principal task of the Ministry is to frame policy directions on defence and security related matters and communicate them for implementation to the Services Headquarters, Inter-Service Organisations, Production Establishments and Research & Development Organisations. It is required to ensure effective implementation of the Government's policy directions and the execution of approved programmes within the allocated resources.

The principal functions of the Departments are as follows:

  1. The Department of Defence deals with the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and three Services and various Inter-Service Organisations. It is also responsible for the Defence Budget, establishment matters, defence policy, matters relating to Parliament, defence co-operation with foreign countries and co-ordination of all defence related activities.
  2. The Department of Defence Production is headed by a Secretary and deals with matters pertaining to defence production, indigenisation of imported stores, equipment and spares, planning and control of departmental production units of the Ordnance Factory Board and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
  3. The Department of Defence Research and Development is headed by a Secretary, who is the Scientific Adviser to the Raksha Mantri. Its function is to advise the Government on scientific aspects of military equipment and logistics and the formulation of research, design and development plans for equipment required by the Services.
  4. The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, headed by a Secretary, deals with all resettlement, welfare and pension related matters of Ex-Servicemen.

Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) was created on October 1, 2001 based on the recommendation of the Group of Ministers, which was set up in 2000 post Kargil to review the Nation's higher defence management. Since then, HQ IDS has been acting as the single point organisation for inculcating jointness and synergy between the Armed Forces, by way of integrating policy, doctrine, war fighting and procurement.

The three Services Headquarters, viz., the Army Headquarters, the Naval Headquarters and the Air Headquarters function under the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) and the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) respectively. The Inter-Service Organisations, under the Department of Defence are responsible for carrying out tasks related to common needs of the three Services such as medical care, public relations and personnel management of civilian staff in the Defence Headquarters.

A number of Committees dealing with defence related activities assist the Raksha Mantri. The Chiefs of Staff Committee is a forum for the Service Chiefs to discuss matters having a bearing on the activities of the Services and also to advise the Ministry. The position of Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee devolves on the longest serving Chief of Staff, and consequently rotates amongst the three Services.

Finance Division in the Ministry of Defence deals with all matters having a financial implication. This Division is headed by Secretary (Defence Finance)/Financial Adviser (Defence Services) and is fully integrated with the Ministry of Defence and performs an advisory role.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 17-01-2011