There has been a significant change in defence planning structure in India. In the context of this explain about the features of recently established “Defence Planning Committee” and analyse how it can help in credible defence preparedness? (200 W)

Source:

https://www.livemint.com/Opinion/YXsvzqyHhK6IoFqAK7MntO/Reforming-defence-planning-in-India.html

Mentor’s Comment:

Define the Defence Planning Committee and briefly explain about its context. It is to recommend about the comprehensive and integrated defence planning.

Further, mention about its salient features. Like the committee will evaluate all relevant inputs relating to national defence and security priorities, foreign policy imperatives, operational directives and associated requirements apart from other defence development plans.

Next, talk about the issues related to defence preparedness. Lack of budget issue, goals prioritizing, integrated approach to defence matters, technological issues, no indigenization etc.

Next, bring a possible solution oriented linkages between the features of the DPC and issues with defense preparedness. Talk about leveraging inter-departmental coordination, establishment of 4 sub-committees to focus on their respective domains etc.

Model Answer:

The  government  has  set  up  as  a  permanent  body,  Defence  Planning  Committee  (DPC)  under  the chairmanship  of  the  National  Security  Adviser  (NSA)  to  facilitate  a  comprehensive  and  integrated planning for defence matters.

Salient features:

  • The Committee has members drawn from the higher echelons of the civil and military services such as three service chiefs, the Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, and Secretary (Expenditure) of the Ministry of Finance.
  • It is tasked to ‘analyse and evaluate all relevant inputs relating to:
  • national defence and security priorities,
  • foreign policy imperatives,
  • operational directives and associated requirements,
  • relevant strategic and security-related doctrines,
  • defence acquisition and infrastructure development plans,
  • defence technology and development of the Indian defence industry
  • In order to assist the functioning of the DPC, the new mechanism provides for four sub-committees,
  • Policy and Strategy.
  • Plans and Capability Development.
  • Defence Diplomacy.
  • Defence Manufacturing Eco-System.

The reports of the DPC are to be submitted to the Defence Minister and further approvals are to be taken as required.  The  existing  planning  process  had  many  problematic  areas  with  respect  to  defence preparedness, such as:

  • Less than adequate resources to meet numerous security challenges
  • Prioritizing goals
  • Lack of integrated approach to defence matters
  • Less focus  on  new  technological  advancements  while  pursuing  manpower  driven  military indigenization
  • Little focus on indigenization and self-reliance in defence procurement matters
  • Chief of  Defence  Staff  (CDS)  which  was  envisaged  to  be  the  arbitrator  of  all  requirements  of  the armed forces and defence planning mechanism, was not created due to political dispensations.

DPC an improvement over the existing system:

  • It would leverage inter-departmental coordination to enhance India’s ability to  strategize long-term defence needs.
  • It has 4 sub-committees for exclusive focus in their respective domains.

The DPC would clearly articulate the key national security, defence and military goals as well as prioritize defence and  security  requirements  as  per  the  available  resources.  At  the  same  time  it  will  provide adequate focus on emerging security challenges, technological advancements, and establishing a strong indigenous  defence  manufacturing  base.  Hence,  it  can  be  argued  that  the  DPC  is  a  timely  step  for streamlining India’s defense preparedness.

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