India’s Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande, addressed the need for the armed forces to remain vigilant in the face of unexpected challenges, urging preparedness for the evolving geopolitical landscape and security threats. Speaking at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Nagpur, General Pande emphasised the significance of understanding the dynamic nature of global security. In his address, General Pande acknowledged India’s longstanding challenges, particularly unsettled borders, alluding to the ongoing border tensions with China in eastern Ladakh. He stressed the importance of being prepared for unexpected events, citing the ongoing conflicts in Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas, which could redefine global relations, news agency PTI reported. Quoting the maxim, “Expect the unexpected,” General Pande highlighted the potential impact of Black Swan events on the global security scenario. He noted the increasing contestation in traditional and non-traditional domains in the Indo-Pacific, with a shift in the economic center of gravity. “Expect the unexpected is a maxim that we need to be alive to… Black Swan events can add turbulence in the dynamic global security canvas,” said General Pande, as quoted by PTI’s report. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(“div-gpt-ad-6601185-5”); }); In an indirect reference to China and Pakistan, General Pande raised concerns about cartographic manipulation, politico-economic leverage, military footprints, and religious radicalisation as part of proxy-war pursuits in the region. He highlighted the manifestation of disinformation campaigns, cyber-attacks, historical referencing, and other grey zone pursuits by adversaries. “Grey Zone pursuits by our adversaries also mandate our attention and response. We already are witness to manifestations of disinformation campaigns, cyber-attacks, selective historical referencing, cartographic manipulation, leveraging politico-economic heft and increasing military footprints in our neighbourhood, and fanning religious radicalisation as part of proxy-war pursuits,” he said, as per the report. General Pande underlined the symbiotic relationship between security and economic progress, stating that a secure environment fosters stability necessary for domestic and foreign investments, promoting economic growth. He emphasised that technology plays a crucial role in the contemporary strategic triad of technology, economy, and security. Addressing major challenges in South Asia, the Army Chief mentioned unresolved border disputes, illegal cross-border migration, transnational crimes, terrorism, and non-traditional threats like illegal fishing and piracy. He noted the impact of climate change-induced disasters on the region. “South Asia is marked by unresolved border disputes, both territorial and maritime… These manifestations, coupled with regional vulnerabilities to climate change-induced disasters, have kept the region in a flux,” he stated, as quoted by PTI. ALSO READ | Deceased Gaza Hostages Held White Flag, Killed Against ‘Rules Of Engagement’: Official Army Chief Expresses Concerns Over Cyberattacks, Weponisation Of Space General Pande stressed the need for proactive measures, capability enhancement, adaptability, and a holistic approach to security challenges. He expressed that India’s rise as a responsible power comes with recognition, additional responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges. Emphasising self-reliance in defense capability, he urged the nation to be strong militarily to defend its interests. “As a nation, we need to ensure that our national interests remain paramount. That mandates us to be a strong nation, to be able to defend our interests in the expanding strategic horizons,” he noted. The Army Chief also flagged concerns about the increasing weaponisation of space and challenges in the cyber domain. Citing the CERT-In annual report of 2022, he highlighted the myriad manifestations of cyber threats, including website intrusion, malware propagation, phishing, and data-breach attempts. “The cyber domain has its own myriad manifestations. The CERT-In annual report of 2022 records almost 14 lakh cases of website intrusion, malware propagation, malicious code, phishing, distributed denial of service attacks, ransomware attacks and data-breach attempts in one year,” he said. General Pande asserted that correctly assessing future threats is pivotal to the country’s strategic planning and preparedness. For nation’s security, he highlighted the constant vigilance required in addressing contemporary threats.

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