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Tanks, fighter aircraft will soon be on their way out like Sony Walkman: Army chief

Addressing a seminar, Army chief M.M. Naravane spoke about evolution of warcraft and emphasised the relevance of Chanakya’s Arthashastra.

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New Delhi: The Army is recalibrating and refining its plans for “dynamic responses” below the threshold of all-out war, like the Balakot air strikes, against Pakistan and China, General M.M. Naravane said Wednesday. 

Addressing a seminar organised by CLAWS, the Army’s think tank, Naravane spoke at length about the evolution of warcraft even as he emphasised the continued relevance of the ancient philosopher Chanakya’s famous treatise Arthashastra.

Among other things, he said the “military icons of the 20th century”, like tanks and fighter aircraft, were on their way out the same way the “Sony Walkman” was made redundant by newer technologies to hear music. The Army, he added, was looking at the possible induction of laser and directed-energy weapons.

Also Read: Army chief Naravane must hold back on China border issue till Tibet is settled

Playing the ‘escalatory game’

Apart from strengthening its conventional prowess, Naravane said, the Army was also focusing on “dynamic responses — actions below the threshold of all-out war”. The Balakot air strikes, according to him, were an example of playing the “escalatory game” with skill. 

“We are refining our plans and capacities in this regard — both, along the western (Pakistan) and northern (China) borders. We are developing kinetic and non-kinetic responses to address the threat,” he added. 

He said the world was witnessing a new phenomenon — the availability of sufficient space for demonstration of military prowess and ascendancy that doesn’t erupt in an all-out conflict.

“Supposed acts of war not leading to war,” he added. “The Houthi rebels’ attack on Riyadh airport and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and closer home, the Balakot air strike, saw these short, intense, escalatory cycles of military activity, in full media glare, where sophisticated information narratives played an equally important role.” 

For years, General Naravane said, it was believed that any crossing of the Line of Control by air would lead to a full-fledged war.

“Balakot demonstrated that if you play the escalatory game with skill, military ascendancy can be established in short cycles of conflict that do not necessarily lead to war,” he added.

The way forward — ‘Chanakya neeti’

The Army chief said “Chanakya neeti (policy)” provided new fodder for thought to effect change in contemporary thinking.

The Indian tradition of strategic thought, he added, was epitomised by works like the Arthashastra.

“Kautilya enunciated the sutra (manual) underlining the four forms of strategic means against enemies, in order of usage — ‘saam (conciliation)’, to advice and ask, ‘daam (gifts)’, to offer and buy, ‘dand (coercion)’, to punish, and ‘bhed (dissension)’, for exploiting secrets,” he said.

In the years since it was written, Naravane said, the Arthashastra had been variously adapted and repurposed.

“It has become a ‘how-to guide’ for ambitious enterprises. It could also become a touchstone for our foreign and strategic policymakers to devise a distinctively Indian view of international relations and statecraft,” he said.

Also Read: Army ready with roadmap for women officers’ permanent commission: Gen. Naravane

‘Tanks and fighters going out’

Speaking about modern warcraft, the Army chief hinted at a dwindling relevance of 20th-century “icons… like the main battle tanks and fighters”, which he said were on the way out.

Naravane noted that the last large tank battle, one where large armoured formations of two armies manoeuvred against each other supported by artillery and air forces, took place in 1973, during the Arab-Israeli war on the Golan Heights.

“In the five-odd decades since — in Iraq, Lebanon, Georgia, Chechnya and Syria, armoured formations have either followed, supported the application of air power and artillery, or else their units and sub-units have been committed in smaller tactical groupings as part of infantry-armour assaults in urban terrain,” he said. 

Also Read: Indian Army under Gen Naravane is correcting history – shifting focus from Pakistan to China


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  1. It is too early to predict obituaries of tanks,fighters and carriers. Of course,these system will evolve in different form as autonomous platform guided by artificial intelligence and machine learning software for regulat task with human override for critical decisions like battle maneuvers, choosing of objectives, fire power ect. However,all human decision will be supported near realtime sensor pick ups integrated into larger battle scenarios.

  2. It is really happy to hear that out 21st Century ARMY ( DEFENCE FORCES)
    are getting Ready To Modrenise our COMBAT FORCES TO MEET ANY FUTURE CONTINGENCIES.
    I was terribly PAINED in JANUARY 1991 when I noticed that OUR ARMY was LAGGING DECADES BEHIND THE TIME during my SSC SELECTION.
    Today I have no Regrets for not getting an Operptunity to serve OUR MOTHER LAND in the ARMY , because in 2008 Our ARMY HQ has OPINED as my FIELD MARSHALL MIND IS BEYOND THE CHARTER OF ARMY.
    Let us not Forget to Pray GOD TO BESTOW ETERNAL PROGRESS PROSPERITY AND HAPPINESS to all our Defence Brotheren,their families, relatives, and we’ll wishers also , for ever.
    With best wishes for betterment,
    Yours sincerely,
    No.13, 5th CROSS NR COLONY BANGALORE -560019.
    Mobile WhatsApp : +919483271683.

  3. I agree that the days of tanks are over
    But fighther aircraft is there to stay.long duration fighting days are over
    There is however a lot of scope for reduction
    It needs a deep study to arrive at any assessment.

  4. Pakistan used advanced jet supplied by us, but india used only depleted one we have able to shoot down f16 .asif ghafoor has said we have captured two pilots , one in hospital, one in our custody and 1 day after only one pilot captured. Another missing has been beaten to death by ur own people ahaaha

  5. Lets Talk about capabilities and skills! 1 million army is not capable to handle 8 million Kashmiris, only committing war crimes, rapes, human rights violation. While making Balakot and surgical strikes in bollywood just to satisfy people and salaried soldiers and their families. Stay blind like 27th Feb losing Su30 and flying coffins 😆 cheers!

  6. India will end up in ANARCHY….WITH WEAPONS IN STREETS AS SONY WALKMAN. In the present scenario nothing is sensible as expresssed.

  7. 27 Feb was a total loss for mighty IAF, and the flaws and frustrations by air defence crews unable to control their own systems actively providing more headache by distoying their own Mi 17 helicopter is enough to blow the claims to dust.
    Oh what a claim of f16 shot down with some paint 98 child graphics is nothing but shows the tumbling feets still shaking by the fear of PAF.

  8. He’s just following Gen. Bipin Rawat’s path. Regularly Make some war mongering comments towards Pakistan which promotes BJP agenda of India-Pakistan. You get a promotion.
    While we saw the practical example in Balakot strike on trees.

  9. Keep all weapons and arms in a showcase .One biological weapon like corona virus is enough to win the war .No people no nation no nation no security .Hence forth wars will be fought by minds.

    • This in a way is right, cyberwarfare alone is capable of reaching the heights of a perfect war.

  10. All u need is wake up and come out of day dreaming, look what international media said regarding Balakot fake strkes, abhinandan released by Pak, what u did only a few trees down, bullshit, wake up

  11. We should respect the advanced ideas of the General.One should not underestimate the capability of Indian army. We lost one war with china but when India got prepared China dared not attacking India. We won all the war with Pakistan. Pakistan is always getting befitting reply by our Armed Forces and his misadventure would certainly result in non existence of this country from world map.

    • If you have won every war against us.then you would have enough confidence fight against us on 27 Feb.But only one of our move has rattled you.Your forces started to make mistakes like they never fought a war.Tell us how many of your Planes have been shot down by your own forces. Try not to make yourselves fool.

    • If you have won every war against us.then you would have enough confidence fight against us on 27 Feb.But only one of our move has rattled you.Your forces started to make mistakes like they never fought a war.Tell us how many of your Planes have been shot down by your own forces. Try not to make yourselves fool.

      • Remember your so advanced F16 plane shot down by our very old MiG 21. Talk about capabilities and courage………

      • In Kargil Paki Army, though positioned at high altitude, was blasted out from Indian army From ground level. In 1971 90000 paki soldiers though had weapons in thier hands crawled before Indian forces seeking mercy. The defeated paki forces still licking their wound, desparately indulges in massive disinformation campaign to escape the wrath of pak public.

    • We took Azad kashmeer In 1948 from whom you batter know but still With us Is there any one to take it back but in real not in moves (But from whom we took they are not ghosts they are look like humans) waiting!!!!!!!!!!

    • We lost the war against China, due to lack of efficient military hardware, training and poor leadership and governance by then PM Jawaharlal Nehru

  12. Ha ha ha
    Billi ko chechron k khwab
    War is game of men and their gallantry
    Cowards believes on Laser
    See what’s happened in Afghanistan, the two superpowers are defeated by Afghans

  13. The general is in great sense of the present and future doctrine of war. We need to develop our own technology to match or supersede the contemporary military technology and engineering equipments.
    The performance of ISRO appears to be satisfactory, more developments are needed in the field of space wars.
    Other defence manufacturing sector, especially the ones under the government like DRDO needs a major overhaul.

  14. Artificially producing typhoon, acidic/chemical rain, lightning,
    Laser jamming, creating seismic currents, sunami, swarm drones, locusts etc., can also be thought of as weapons. War has also to be carried to outer space.

  15. General sahib need to wake up and stop day dreaming …. Doesn’t suits this bullshit from a General and that too an army chief

    • What did he say wrong??? Other countries are doing it moving beyond tanks and fighter jets besides we can hardly manufacture any weapons technology on our own without any outside support he is a general for a reason and has earned his status unlike you who is just sitting at your home criticising him like you are the president

  16. Yes, its really a good approach,
    It Wii definitely save time, and money plus lot of hindrances, made by Babu’s sitting in AC rooms
    Present Generals are to be encouraged by the Present Leadership

  17. Always preparedness is good with modern technology, but public speaking regarding preparedness isn’t desirable. This is not Chankyaniti.

  18. General Naravane probably missed one more type of warfare which employed by outside forces inimical to India’s security and integrity. That is, organize violence and mayhem under the rubric of communal clashes with the support of internal ‘Jaichands’. Our intelligence agencies have been miserably failing in anticipating and controlling such incidents for many years but in particular, since JNU incident of Kanahiya Kumar till Delhi riots of Feb 2020. Apart from new age laser and hyper-sonic weapons , India badly needs technology for intelligence gathering to prevent such explosive incidents. May be its a good time to revive Technical Core started by Gen V K Singh earlier. While we are still talking about Kautilya’s wisdom, our enemies across the borders have imbibed it effectively and are using it against us.

    It is a pleasure to listen to the General as he talks maturely and chooses words with care. May we have many more like him in future too!

    • There is nothing called chanakyaniti. It’s all about technology that is changing so the war strategy will change .
      It’s simple to understand even a layman knows this .
      Don’t use JNU type discussion and divert the topic .
      JNU all is a tool to spread false information in country and using jaichand type words .
      Anyone questioning government does not become jaychand .
      If that is the case than prior to 2014 who opposed the government will be called Jaychand.
      Please grow up .
      And come out from false information spread through what’s app university.

  19. 1 . It is very heartening to note that an Indian Army Chief got time to think about the future warfare. Normally a Chief is forced get into micro level matters especially military activities in J&K due to political interference in all security related operations.
    2 . It is a bold statement regarding the reduced utility of Tanks and Fighter aircrafts in a future total war scenario as in 71.
    3 . Anyway it’s high time that a think tank organization be created consisting of all three wings of the Armed Forces(may be retired Officers of high calibre) to evaluate and advise the RM/PM regarding the modernization of armed forces and it’s war equipments with out the interference of bureaucracy.
    The Chiefs of the three wings of the armed forces with a two year tenure can hardly influence or contribute anything by themselves. The three Chiefs and CDS can be members of the think tank organization which should be permanent in nature irrespective of changing of it’s members as required.

    • Unlike you at least he had guts and power to think and make is statements be heard no dream is impossible if we figure out the way to achieve it if was up to you. I am pretty sure you would even criticize wright Brothers in their dream of making Man fly but we have that technology and means now don’t we

  20. the famed UTTER FAILURE OF balakot attack was a disgrace for indian Army losing a total of 6 warplanes and destroying 300 pine trees with a captured pilot and next day Pakistani forces chose at their own will 6 indian targets and attacked them at will without any loss
    yes continue with this doctrine of chanikya
    men behind the machines make the difference and not theoretical strategies and cowardly surprise attacks

    • That means almost all the attacks by terrorists are cowardly because they are surprise attacks and mostly against defenceless victims.

  21. Switzerland is a neutral country, but it’s armed forces train day in and day out in all type of manoeuvres, China and America are still manufacturing airplanes and tanks, they are far far advanced than us, are they naive! Chemical warfare is unconventional but all use it, drones exist but so do airplanes, all said and done laser and it’s sidekicks cost tons of money, a country which has I’ll equipped army, navy airforce, and who are so narrow minded that all efforts are made to have only Pakistan in mind, which is so tiny that we don’t need to spends money on it, yes, increase your sphere of conflict to be super power then indulging in laser and all is justified, equip your soldiers, for Pakistan this type of train is sufficient

  22. Abinandan down in balakot, u downed trees. That’s the Walkman technology mindset Indian army has. Improve that instead of buying hardware your not capable to operate. BALAKOT was a lesson Indian Airforce didn’t learn.

  23. It seems that General Sahib is not only a great army gladiator, but also a musicphilee especially listening on Sony Audio Systems. So his words about “Sony Walkman” may be helped to promote business its video and audio products.

  24. Sir, I have spent 30 years in uniform and have heard umpteen number of such “forward looking” speeches. Good that you carry that momentum forward. However, humbly sir “The proof of pudding is in eating it!”.
    In my 3 decades of service the biggest sore point has been provisioning and procurement. It takes almost a decade to introduce a technology in our armed forces, and the fault lies equally within inside and outside our uniformed organisations. We need to look at our internal processes to inculcate technological professionalism and aggressively demand professionalism from the Babu’s, DRDOs and Private organisations.

    So sir all the best with futuristic thinking and hope we are able to bring positive changes in our immediate tomorrow.

  25. We shouldn’t forget that this is a brilliant discourse by
    Gen.Narvane in a Military Think tank seminar where he has highlighted the trends in ever evolving warcraft. At the same time he has also said that we are consolidating ourselves in this transition. Rafael aircraft is also an advanced technology for Balakot type response. In the era of nuclear deterrence , foot soldiers role in the form of insurgency and counterinsurgency will remain supreme. Soviet and
    Proposed Us departures from Afghanistan stand a testimony to that despite being the highly modernized superpowers. Chanakya’s Saam,Daam, Dand and Bhed will ever remain relevant. A visionary
    Foot Soldiers as Chief is again a welcome trend.

  26. We Indians talk big things and yet Pakistan managed to out gunned us in balakot incident and china in 1962.. We have enough money, Manpower and talent and still we spend huge taxpayers money to buy outdated war-machines…plz spend money wisely…

  27. Heaven on earth Kashmir, it’s sucking the lives & wealth of Indians and Pakistanis and the poor Kashmiris since long. Leaders should talk and make peace for the betterment of all parties.

    • Very true. We don’t need war more. We need peace and more importantly how to live in peace.

  28. Why does it sound like some BJP spokesperson speaking…Over exaggeration of things…The world knows what we a equipped with…

  29. These days our generals tend to shoot their mouths off, the earlier one got rewarded for that. This strategist must realise that Sony Walkman has reintroduced their product with some latest technological features. So please update yourself before shooting your mouth off !

  30. Well finally someone in the forces who talks abt next gen.. or else everyone else still want to purchase these costly toys to retain power in their hands… Time has come for our senior officers to keep their egos at bay and realize the changing dynamics of warfare or else we will end up with thousands of crores spent with no use in future.

  31. Bullet missile- Advancements in the form of minature missiles ,upto a level of bullelt which can be launched from the barrel of the soldiers weapon with a targwt locking facility can save on unnecessary expenditure on the thousends of bullet which inaveriably misses the target.

  32. General sahib talking with great vision. All the big powers are massing drones in their forces. That means new research is in progress. India recognizes future requirements. Great to be in the level term in battlefield.

  33. Immediately the liberal and Lutyens brigade started sermonising with out realising that they’re resting and sleeping in their centralised air-conditioned bungalows due to the vigilant by our selfless service being rendered by the defence services.
    Public sab jhanthi hai do not mislead

  34. General is thinking in right direction, we have always developed negative attitude towards defence forces both in terms of equipment and also pay and recognition for their ultimate sacrifice. Our corrupt politicians are always busy in defence deals and its commission, also managing I’ll got money.

  35. What rubish talking chanakya niti and all thai one biological weapon like coronavirus is enough to win awar gone are the days by fighting with weapons and air crafts.

  36. So first step completed…we have manufacturing…which puts us near the top of the pack….now some attention is needed….which the current govt. Is doing…now we need patience…
    That a small piece of land on a speck in the universe is a military power to reckon with…

  37. General Naravane from his speech appears to be a brilliant strategicion in the art of War.He seems to be well aware of the future developments in military technology and the present which is going to be redundant in near future.
    He appears to be a General which India had been lacking since a long time.Why?
    He is talking about Lasers & energy guided weapon system which is going to be the future of defence technology in advanced most countries.
    He keeps himself aware of all the happening in conflict and war zones.
    Recently China used Lasers to blind the American Pilots who were on surveillance over South China Sea.
    Well India’s defence is in brilliant hands.

    • Sir ji. The Rein of Armed forces have always been with the best in the world – All the chiefs and Generals on they never had the freedom to act, please read espionage stories of India you will realise how the leaders. had reduced the defence and RAW budget to highlight the image of peace loving country, and some even believed that, but reality is we don’t need image but security.

    • Rafael Jet Fighters are for immediate needs of the Indian Air Force; during UPA Rule Defence Minister A.K Antony delayed buying any Modern Armoury for many years, reasons they say was ‘Commussion’ negotiations as per his High Command Orders. BJP Government is now trying to make up for the much Time Loss to keep India’s Defences have the required Deterrent to keep the Enemy away.

    • All these will take years. Future doesn’t mean 2-5-10 years. It means slow and gradual induction. Phasing out the old and bringing in the new. Fighter aircrafts will still have a roll to play. Nothing in military becomes obsolete immediately.

    • Of course why not rafale??!!! Politicians need it the most, & you know why they need hyperinflated weapons in India. Defence budget is 4 lakh+ crores!!! That’s a mouth watering amount!!!

    • Mr D.Raja
      You are talking just like our first PM Nehru about our army prepardness and paid the price in Info-China war so much so that he could not recover from paraletic attack he suffered in Congress adhiwation held in Bhubaneshwar. Please refrain yourself from communicating in this manner if your proud citizen of this country

  38. China and Russia are advancing rapidly in laser and hypersonic missile technology. Considering the slow-moving Indian bureaucracy and resistance to change, I wonder how practical and far we can get in advanced warfare (and we must, no choice). Except for ISRO, all our defence manufacturing is outdated. There’s a World of difference between intention and action.

    • Atleast there IS manufacturing….compared to mist countries….and once we have that…irs just a matter of political will…..

    • Hey pawan did u mean to say DRDO??!! Cuz i dont think ISRO is a defense manufacturer. Its a organisation related to space. Dnt u know bout chandrayaan? And please b a bit positive about ur country. ‘Without Intention there is NO ACTION. ‘

  39. That should be great army chief.
    Then every single person will pocket Walkman tank or … on his pocket

  40. Direct energy weapon is really way forward. Actionable intelligence or real time intelligence will be big win.
    Cyber War as coming time will be off 5G.
    Space war & military satellite.
    And State of Art rifle…
    So.. war will be fought on many fronts. So strategy has to be evolved accordingly.

  41. Good. At last, our armed forces which are beholden to British “koi hai” culture is modernising. Chanakya says, most successful warrior is one who avoids war, not the one who wins the war. Thus, deterrant power is important. Good luck to us and our armed forces.

  42. I am firmly of the opinion that even the smallest bullet will have an element of intelligence to look for, precisely hit and kill any warm-blooded image thrown up by the miniature integrated camera on its way to the enemy site. Also, satellites stuffed with precise missiles could be activated on their own to do the job they’ve been programmed for. Even swarms of bird-like devices could do what soldiers can’t do in stressed situations.

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