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In a recent lecture delivered at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), Lt General P.R. Shankar (Retd) stressed the necessity for India to adopt integrated thinking and jointness within its defense strategy. Addressing the looming threat from China’s missile capabilities, Lt General Shankar argued that while a dedicated rocket force might not be required, a unified and cohesive approach to national defense is imperative.

Lt General Shankar’s address highlighted the shifting dynamics of global military threats, particularly focusing on China’s growing missile arsenal. He cautioned that the day is not far when China could use its missile capabilities to coerce India. This scenario demands a strategic recalibration for India to effectively counter and deter such threats.

Integrated thinking in military strategy involves a comprehensive and holistic approach where different branches of the armed forces work synergistically towards common objectives. Lt General Shankar emphasized that this approach is critical for India to maintain its strategic edge. Key elements of integrated thinking include:

  1. Cross-Domain Coordination: Ensuring that the Army, Navy, and Air Force operate in a coordinated manner across land, sea, air, space, and cyber domains.
  2. Unified Command Structures: Developing command structures that promote joint operations and streamline decision-making processes.
  3. Efficient Resource Utilization: Allocating resources in a manner that leverages the strengths of each service branch, thus enhancing overall combat effectiveness.

Jointness refers to the seamless integration and cooperation among different branches of the military. Lt General Shankar argued that fostering jointness is essential for India to respond effectively to contemporary security challenges. s: Implementing training initiatives that bring together personnel from various services to build interoperability and mutual understanding. Conducting frequent joint exercises to practice and refine coordinated operations in realistic combat scenarios. Formulating joint military doctrines that outline the principles and guidelines for integrated operations, ensuring that all branches work towards unified goals.

Lt General P.R. Shankar’s lecture at CLAWS underscores the critical importance of integrated thinking and jointness in India’s defense strategy. As the nature of global threats evolves, particularly with the growing missile capabilities of adversarial nations like China, India must adopt a unified and cohesive approach to national security. By fostering jointness and enhancing its missile defense capabilities, India can better prepare to counter and deter potential coercive threats, ensuring its strategic autonomy and security in a complex geopolitical landscape.