By Anupama Airy
Strategic reach of India, with the expansion of its Navy and Air Force, is ever increasing and in line with this thought process, Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff, has planned to commence his international engagements with the immediate neighbourhood with the aim of conveying the importance that India attaches to its neighbours.
“Neighbours are important and let me tell you one thing that I have prioritized my visit pattern to see that I would first visit our neighbours over other countries,” Army Chief Bipin Rawat said in a recent interview to Defenceaviationpost.com.
“So while my office will be planning my visits, the priority that I have given to them is ‘Neighbours First’,” he added
Asked to comment on what his focus will be during these visits, he said, ” I would like to tell them that India is a strong nation and that any kind of support that our neighbours need, we will always be willing to support them.”
“I would like to re-assure them that India has no hegemonistic designs and that they can look at us with healthy attitudes and not fear India or the Indian Army.”
Asked on his outlook, when it comes to Pakistan and China, Gen Rawat said that wIt’s Pakistan and China, “my message is that let’s look at peace.”
“We have always wanted peace and I have said this before as well that let’s work towards maintaining peace and tranquillity along our borders but if the other side does not believe in moving forward with peace, then we will act accordingly.”
Military diplomacy is an integral and very important part of foreign policy for any nation. Power projection and strategic engagements in matters of defence are important for a regional and emerging global power.
Defence co-operation in terms of training, supply of arms and equipment and sharing of intelligence in today’s environment of omnipresent fourth generation warfare, having global linkages within terror outfits like ISIS, Al Qaeda etc is a vital component in combating terrorism.
For a regional power like India, engaging its immediate neigbourhood is not only important for its own security but for that of the region as well since events and happenings in one state impact the other due to past historical, traditional and cultural linkages.
Engagements mustalways be done in concentric circles emanating from the state and expanding outwards; therefore Strategic military engagement across the globe by India though is a must, it is imperative to first secure the immediate surroundings, including the hostile ones.
For growth of the region, peace, stability and cooperation within its own sphere is a must.
With the third largest armed forces in the world, India cannot ignore its regional responsibilities and it cannot be ignored by the world.