NSA Doval suggests jointness among central armed police forces

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday suggested that various central armed police forces of the country should have "jointness" and interoperability among themselves like the ongoing plan for the defence forces.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval

New Delhi | National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday suggested that various central armed police forces of the country should have "jointness" and interoperability among themselves like the ongoing plan for the defence forces.

The about ten lakh strength central armed police forces include the BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF and SSB apart from the NDRF and NSG and they are deployed for rendering a variety of internal security duties in the hinterland and at the borders.

"Should we think about the jointness in our CPOs (central police organisations). Jointness where we can have interoperability in weapons and other things. We are a huge force now. We have also got the same type of duties, inter-mingling duties at many places whether it's a question of procurement, communication training standardisation," he said.

In defence forces it (jointness) is being done now. We are thinking of theatre commands. One officer from the Air force probably controlling the Navy and Air force and in many areas that jointness has been brought about. There (in defence forces) it was more difficult because their equipment is very difficult, their doctrines are different, their command and control systems are different but here (CAPFs) it is almost the same, Doval said.

"So, if we bring (jointness in CAPFs), we not only save money and it is not for saving money it also brings about greater homogeneity.

"Whenever the requirements are there, either in war or in peace. If we find we have to deploy 30 battalions of CPOs doesn't matter. If BSF battalions are not available, CRPF can also do the same thing. Their equipment, training, communication, frequencies are the same...they will march," Doval said, making it clear that this was his personal idea as a police officer and as a man of security and not as an NSA.

He was delivering the Rustamji Memorial Lecture organised by the Border Security Force (BSF) on its 21st investiture ceremony. He said border guarding forces like the BSF had a very important role to play in ensuring the country's security.

K F Rustamji was the founding father and the first director general of the BSF, the world's largest border guarding force with about 3 lakh personnel tasked to guard Indian borders with Pakistan on the west and Bangladesh on the east.

Doval also said India would have progressed at a much faster pace had its borders been more secure, defined and not under "adversarial dispossession", highlighting that the country's power has grown immensely over the last 10 years.

"India's economic progress probably could have been faster if we had more secure borders. In the foreseeable future I don't think that our borders are going to be as secure as we will require for our fast economic growth."

"So, the responsibility on the border guarding forces becomes very very heavy. They have got to remain on alert 24x7 and they have got to see our national interest...," he said.

Borders not only determine the limit of our sovereignty, they are not only important for our territorial integrity but they also have an impact on our internal security and stability, Doval, a former head of the intelligence bureau (IB), said.

"The limit of our sovereignty is the place at the border where our soldier is able to go and put his foot down. Zameen par jo kabza hai woh apna hai, baki toh sab adalat or kachahri ka kaam hai. Usse farak nahi padta (The land which is in our possession is ours, the rest is legal matter and is immaterial)," the NSA said.

Doval told a gathering comprising various CAPF and other central police organisations heads and personnel that "retarders" related to national security need to be checked as a good number of countries have undergone degradation because of "one single factor" like internal instability.

Pakistan got broken into two because it could not manage the internal security in its eastern wing, he said, citing example of the Soviet Union that was "balkanised" into various other countries and some African countries.

"When we do strategic planning and thinking, it is necessary for us to estimate and have clarity about our borders," he said.

Doval said it was important for a country like India to keep a check on the retarders as the country has achieved much in the last ten years.

"When somebody will be writing the history of this country...they will be able to see that accretion in national power was achieved and amongst the retarders (was) vulnerability of our borders was a major factor," the NSA said.

He said had borders with India's neighbours-- on the west (Pakistan) and north (China)-- been secured, defined and not in a state of adversarial dispossession, it was important to see how much this has affected the nation's internal and external security.

The NSA said the retarders were a "weight" on our internal security, like terrorism, radical thoughts, drug trafficking, arms running, organised crime and human trafficking etc.

It has also got a bearing on the "socio-economic security" of the country like illegal migration and radicalisation..., he said.

"Terrorism, insurgency in the north east, drugs...that impinge on our internal security apparatus probably cannot be controlled unless our borders are controlled. So border guarding forces have got a great responsibility in this thing...," Doval said.

The NSA said India was changing very fast and, in the next 10 years, "we will be a USD 10 trillion economy and the third largest economy" terming these as a "major achievement".

India, he said, has the world's largest workforce and technically it will be the world's most advanced country in many fields like semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, high technology and various other areas of defence, security manufacturing and others.

Doval said India will become a very major global supply hub and military power.

He said India, which was an importer of weapons and equipment, was now exporting these items, as in the last fiscal, it exported weapons valued at USD 2.5 billion.

We are emerging as a major exporter now. In this changing India what is going to happen...well prosperity guarantees security to some extent and it adds to your vulnerability in much larger areas. But all these are the ingredients of the national power, what the Chinese call the comprehensive national power. India's comprehensive national power will be extremely high..., Doval said.

He praised the Modi government saying during the last ten years, the country has seen a government which gave a "very very high attention to security and management of our borders".

There is no Diwali in which our prime minister (Narendra Modi) has not gone to the farthest frontiers of the country, he said.

The prime minister wants to celebrate with soldiers...he asked the governors of 16 border states, cabinet ministers and bureaucrats to tour these areas, got a survey of 12,000 border villages and he is one political leader at the top who understands the gravity and importance of borders, the NSA said.

He stressed the central police forces to invest in technology upgradation citing the example of Iran firing "series of missiles" on Israel recently and out of these 1,500 missiles, 99 per cent were stopped and only 2-3 could hit the targets.

"That's the strength of technology," he said.

He said having an interface with the local border population was important, citing the example of Israel when the latter country's "cutting-edge intelligence" failed and thousands of Hamas people infiltrated.

However, being a large country, we have got many eyes and we have got our local population (on the borders)..., he said.

"Please befriend the border people...they should not feel that you are there to control them, police them, regulate them or make their life difficult but you should provide them support," he told the forces.

You cannot defend a border where the people are hostile to you, the NSA said.

He said that the country has to have a transformation from being the biggest to being the best.

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