New Delhi: Security challenges will be less predictable in future with the duration of conflicts shorter and the enemy invisible, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Friday and called upon the armed forces to enhance abilities in cyber space.
Addressing his first combined commanders' conference, Modi said that force will remain an instrument of deterrence though full scale wars may become rare, while domination of cyber space will become increasingly important while control of space as critical as that of land, air and sea.
He said there was expectation from India to emerge not only as one of the poles of global economy but also as one of the anchors of regional and global security.
"Beyond the immediate, we are facing a future where security challenges will be less predictable; situations will evolve and change swiftly; and technological changes will make responses more difficult to keep pace with. The threats may be known, but the enemy may be invisible," he said.
"Domination of cyber space will become increasingly important. Control of space may become as critical as that of land, air and sea. Full scale wars may become rare, but force will remain an instrument of deterrence and influencing behaviour, and the duration of conflicts will be shorter," he added.
Modi's remarks came in the backdrop of repeated ceasefire violations by by Pakistan resulting in tensions along the International Border and the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and Chinese incursions in Ladakh.
He said that an atmosphere of peace and security was essential to enable India to achieve its goals of economic development and his government has focused on creating a favourable external environment while strengthening security.
"We should remember that what matters is capability of the force," Modi said, adding: "When we speak of Digital India, we would also like to see a Digital Armed Force."
He asked the services to give serious thought to upgrading technological skills for effective projection of power.
According to a PMO statement, Modi called upon the armed forces to focus on efficiency and economy in use of resources and military assets, including by "greater integration and sharing of resources among the services".
He asked them to draw up long term acquisition plans keeping in view availability of resources, future operational requirements and technology trends.
Modi also suggested that the conference need not be held in Delhi and be alternately held on sea, forward army camps or at air bases.
In his address, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said that India needs to have a credible deterrence and there was need of continuous capacity building.
He India was living in a troubled neighbourhood and described Pakistan as a "global puzzle" while complimenting the security forces for appropriate response to the recent ceasefire violations.
Jaitley, who is also finance minister, assured to speed up the defence acquisition process and indicated that there would be at least one meeting a month of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).