India’s military commanders to discuss terror threats


New Delhi : A spate of terrorist attacks in the country and regional security scenario will top the agenda at the annual conference of top commanders of the Indian armed forces to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here Wednesday.

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Defence Minister A.K. Antony, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister Shivraj Patil will also address the conference, at which National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and top officials of the defence and home ministries will present their assessment of the security scenario in the country and the neighbourhood.

On Tuesday, the top brass of the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force will separately begin their bi-annual conference with a similar agenda.

The daring air and ground attack by Tamil Tiger rebels on a Sri Lankan airbase that left five airmen and five guerrillas dead Monday is also likely to feature at both conferences.

The five-day Army Commanders’ Conference will focuses on key policy, conceptual and doctrinal issues in light of prevailing and developing security environment.

To be chaired by Indian Army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor, the conference “will take a holistic review of the security environment, status of operational readiness as also the appraisal of situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast,” an Indian Army statement said.

“Aspects of force modernization including battlefield transparency, long-range precision engagement and integral air-mobility will come up for in-depth discussions as part of the overall review.

“There will also be an appraisal of the progress made in transforming the army from platform-centric to network-enabled and finally to a fully network-centric force,” the statement added.

The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, will chair the three-day Air Force Commanders’ Conference that will discuss the progress made on augmenting force levels by acquiring new aircraft and upgrading the existing ones

The Indian Navy chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, will chair the Naval Commanders’ Conference that will review a wide variety of issues and subjects that include naval architecture, material management, human resource development, training, and operations.

“The last few years have seen a quantum leap in many fields of naval operations and a commensurate conceptual and infrastructure growth,” an Indian Navy statement said.

“The navy’s increased thrust towards indigenisation is a case in point. The perplexities of this rapid change in the recent past have entailed great challenges and innovative methodologies to be shaped and applied.

“Considerable deliberations have helped lay focus on building a capability-driven rather than threat-centric navy for the future,” the statement added.