Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi in a speech yesterday said that India should stop being obsessed with China and Pakistan and should also start looking at the strategic challenges and opportunities that lie beyond the subcontinent.
“We have to move from purely northern-focused (border in the north) to northern-focused-plus,” he said, delivering the inaugural Air Chief Marshal L M Katre memorial lecture.
India needs to have a sphere of influence in different regions – from the Gulf to the straits of Malacca to central Asian republics to the Indian ocean, he said.
This according to him is essential since India is now facing new challenges with its rapidly growing economy and its burgeoning demand for energy.
“You have to change strategy in new security arena.”
New Delhi currently has a “subcontinent mindset”, according to him. “We have been so busy looking at threats from Pakistan and China, we have not had time or inclination to see or look at other threats.”
The IAF chief said that because of economic challenges, India will have to start looking beyond the boundaries of India.
He also said that India is readying itself to face any type of warfare conventional or nuclear in both J&K and/or on its International frontiers.
“What we are planning today is battle, something on the lines of Kargil, a battle that may actually be fought all over Jammu and Kashmir, a battle that may be fought over the Line of Control – what the Pakistanis call the working boundary – a battle which may be fought all over…entire international border…conventional or nuclear warfare,” he said.
He also pointed out that many countries in India’s neighbourhood are in turmoil and there aren’t many ‘democratic countries’.
Pakistan, ruled by an army chief, is suffering from an immense amount of sectarian violence, and not all oil-rich sheikhdoms are politically stable. Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s writ does not run outside the presidential palace, where he is guarded by US marines, Tyagi remarked.
Tyagi expressed doubts on whether China would remain a single party ruled country for long. China is politically and economically stable and growing rapidly. “Is this (single party rule) the final political destiny of China? Perhaps not.”