Curtain Raiser Unveils Chanakya Defence Dialogue: Setting the Course for Collaborative Security in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific
In an epoch where defence and security paradigms are dynamically evolving, General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), presided over the curtain raiser event, offering a glimpse of the upcoming two-day defence dialogue, set to navigate the wide canvas of regional and global security.
The event, ‘Chanakya Defence Dialogue 2023’ is being organised by the Indian Army in partnership with Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS). The first edition of Chanakya Defence Dialogue will be held on 3rd & 4th November 2023 in Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi. This is the first event of its kind being organised by the Indian Army.
This Dialogue will carry out a comprehensive analysis of security challenges in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific. It will focus on crafting a roadmap for collaborative security measures in the region to fortify India's position as a ready, resurgent, and relevant stakeholder among the nations of this region.
Envisaged as a powerful platform, it aspires to meticulously analyse the multifaceted security challenges in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific and define a roadmap for collective security within the region.
The Curtain Raiser witnessed a Fireside Chat with the COAS moderated by Lieutenant General Raj Shukla (Retired), unveiling themes and aspirations behind this noble initiative. General Manoj Pande remarked that unprecedented trends are shaping the current geo-strategic landscape. He highlighted that India’s rise in stature brings recognition, additional responsibilities, opportunities and challenges. He emphasised that the centrality of national interests remains paramount amidst the ongoing flux wherein the salience of national security is continuously increasing in the international system. The COAS also mentioned that technology is the new strategic arena of geo-political competition and self-reliance has emerged as a key imperative.
Highlighting the significance of self-reliance or Atmanirbharta, General Manoj Pande mentioned that recent conflicts reveal that security of the nation can neither be outsourced nor be dependent on the largesse of others. While highlighting enabling actions undertaken by the Government to encourage self-reliance, the COAS cited examples of Positive Indigenisation List; Earmarking R&D Budget; Corporatisation of Ordnance Factories; Emphasis on Defence Exports and Establishment of Defence Corridors.
Highlighting the strides of Indian Army towards Atmanirbharta, General Manoj Pande brought out that the Indian Army has been closely working with 340 indigenous defence industries towards fructification of 230 contracts by the year 2025. The COAS also mentioned that Indian Army has identified 45 niche technologies in the field of military applications. Underscoring the importance accorded to niche technologies, the COAS highlighted that Centres of Excellence have been established by the Indian Army including 5G Test Bed, Artificial Laboratory and Quantum Laboratory.
The Chief of the Army Staff commented that the Indian Army is operating as part of a larger defence and security eco-system and is proactively reaching out to other Government Departments and Ministries, to enhance outcomes. He mentioned that linkages with all Ministries are being leveraged to achieve common objectives. He cited examples such as PM Gati Shakti Project and National Logistics Policy wherein the infrastructure requirements of Indian Army have been aligned and synergised with the overall national logistics requirements.
Fireside Chat by the COAS was followed by an engaging Round Table Discussion on the topic “Securing India and Indo-Pacific Region-Collaborating for Comprehensive Security”, moderated by Lieutenant General Raj Shukla (Retired). The panellists were astute minds like Vice Admiral Anil Chopra (Retired), Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhyaya alongside Mr Jayadeva Ranade. The discussion germinated the seeds for the upcoming dialogue, shedding light on pivotal areas like the new security paradigms, lessons from ongoing conflicts, collaborative partnerships and comprehensive security, imperatives for a secure South Asia and Indo-Pacific, whilst maintaining an air of anticipation for the forthcoming event.
Chanakya Defence Dialogue is planned to be a regular event steered by the Indian Army in the years ahead. The Dialogue will be conducted in six sessions on the following topics: -
Neighbourhood First - South Asia Prognosis.
Indo Pacific - The Decisive Frontier.
Collaborative Partnerships for Security.
How Emerging Technologies Impact Defence and Security.
Indian Defence Industry as Enabler for Collaborative Capacity Building.
Comprehensive Deterrence: The India Way.
Chanakya Defence Dialogue 2023 will witness a congregation of eminent speakers from India and abroad. The galaxy of Indian speakers includes Dr. Arvind Virmani (Niti Aayog), Prof Ajay Kumar Sood (PSA to Govt of India), Ambassador V Misri (Deputy NSA), Ambassador DB Venkatesh Varma, Lieutenant General Subrata Saha (Retired), Lieutenant General DS Hooda (Retired), Lieutenant General Prakash Menon (Retired), Ambassador Vijay K Gokhale, Ambassador Ashok K Kantha and Admiral Sunil Lanba (Retired) besides some other distinguished luminaries.
Some of the panellists from abroad will be Ms Lisa Curtis (Senior Fellow and Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS), Dr. Satoru Nagao (Japan), Dr Paco Milhiet (France), Ambassador Shamsher M Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Mr. Asanga Abeyagoonasekera (Sri Lanka), Mr Chiran Jung Thapa (Nepal), Vice Admiral Amarulla Octavian (Indonesia), Dr. R De Castro (The Philippines).
With this pioneering initiative, the Indian Army has embarked on a journey where defence, strategy, and collaborative partnership converge to forge a secure, stable, and prosperous future in the vibrant landscape of South Asia and the Indo-Pacific.