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12th Subroto Mukerjee Seminar on ‘India’s Security Challenges : Role of Aerospace Power’

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The 12th Subroto Mukerjee Seminar was organized by the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) on 9-10 November, 2015 at the Conference Hall, Air Force Auditorium, Subroto Park, New Delhi. The theme for this year’s seminar was “India’s Security Challenges: Role of Aerospace Power.” Welcoming the attendees, Air Marshal Vinod Patney (Retd), Director General, CAPS remarked on the shadow of gloom under which the Seminar is being organized, mourning at the passing away of the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal OP Mehra, who was also the Chairman of the Executive Committee, CAPS besides being a member of the Board of Trustees of the Forum for National Security Studies and Lieutenant General AM Vohra (Retd.), Member of Executive Committee, CAPS. The Director General asked the attendees to stand and observe one minute of silence as a mark of respect for the departed stalwarts. During the opening session, Air Chief Marshal, Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff released a book “Code of Conduct for Outer Space: A Strategy for India” written by Dr Manpreet Sethi, Senior Fellow, CAPS. The inaugural address was scheduled to be given by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, who expressed his regret at being unable to do so because he had to attend the funeral of Air Chief Marshal OP Mehra. He requested CAPS to read out his speech, which was done by Air Marshal KK Nohwar (Retd.), Additional Director General, CAPS.

In his speech, the Chief of Air Staff reflected on the achievements of Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee, the first Indian to become Chief of the Indian Air Force at the age of just 43 years.

on the theme chosen for the conference, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha expressed that the constant churning of the geo-economics and geopolitical scenario has thrown up newer challenges for global peace and stability. Events such as the 9/11 attacks, Arab Spring and the Jasmine Revolution have changed the nature of the security challenges for nation states. The rise of the Islamic State (IS) and the turmoil in West Asia is further throwing newer challenges for the global community. The current world scenario is marked by the shift in the strategic centre of gravity to the Asia Pacific, which has resulted in the world reorienting its strategic thinking. Maintaining the territorial and maritime borders has posed a major challenge for India. This has been further complicated by the developments in its immediate neighbourhood. The rise of China and its association with India’s other neighbours such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka has affected the strategic discourse in India. Chinese investment in India’s neighbourhood has been the result of its desire to contain India. China has also attempted to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean Region, which is seen in its deployment of submarines in the region. Pakistan has maintained close ties with China as well as the US and has successfully capitalized the prevailing geopolitics of the region for its own benefit. While India still battles its challenges arising out of communal violence, insurgency in the North East, Naxalism and Jihadi terrorism, newer challenges emanate in the fields of Cyber and Space. This reflects on the varied, dynamic and complex nature of the security challenges faced by India. India needs to be prepared to face its wide range of conventional and sub-conventional threats. Its policy has to be a reflection of its national objectives, as defined by its Non-Aligned stance, and principles of Panchsheel. India must look to avoid conflicts and deter war, and this could be done by enhancing its offensive capabilities.

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