Nagpur: Army chief General MM Naravane on Saturday said information security is the biggest challenge to national security in the present scenario "which can give a strong shock to the economy and can handicap government machinery also".
In his virtual address on the topic of "India's National Security Scenario- Past, Present and Future" at a function organised by a college here in Maharashtra, General Naravane said national security was not limited to armed security only but is based on six other important foundations.
Speaking about non-traditional threats to national security, General Naravane said, "Information security is the biggest challenge to national security in the present scenario".
"Cyber warfare is one of the non-traditional threats. It is not the only threat to our information system, but it is also a threat to leaking of sensitive information of our country," he added.
"Nowadays, government and private sector data is available online, and in this situation, a big cyber attack can give a strong shock to the economy and can handicap the government machinery also," the Army chief said.
He said national security is based on six important foundations viz "Army security, financial security,health security, food security, energy security and environment security, which needs effort of the entire nation".
He observed that the use of drone technology has increased in the world for launching a precision attack.
"A strong drone attack was witnessed in Saudi oil fields in September 2019 and a drone was used in Armenia and Azerbaijan conflict.
These are examples that technology will be an important factor in the future conflicts. The Indian army is aware of this challenges and showed it capabilities on the Army Day parade held on January 15 this year," the General said.
The Army chief highlighted other "non-traditional challenges like economic challenges due to COVID-19; changes in environment, pollution, infectious diseases, drug trafficking and radicalisation".
"There is a need to adopt a multi-pronged approach to tackle these national security threats. Our Army needs to use its strategic, financial and legal power in a planned manner. Our country is a developing country and has limited resources and it has to do allocation under limited budget," he said.
General Naravane also underlined the need to give an equal attention to the development of infrastructure and to the welfare of citizens along with national security."
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There can be no compromise on the security of the nation. When our land and sea borders will (remain) protected, then only will we be able to attract more and more investments into the county and create more job opportunities for the people," he added.
General Naravane further observed that allocation of funds in the defence sector will strengthen the development of the country and it should be seen as a "future investment".
"Allocations for defence is therefore a catalyst for growth and should be seen as an investment for the future," he said.
The Army chief praised the "Aatmanirbhar" initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying it has inspired in fulfilling the national security needs through self reliance.
''Aatanirbhar Bharat'' has become a strategic necessity in the defence sector. New technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous and unmanned system, long-range precision technology, 5 G technology, quantum computing and directed energy systems needed to be adopted. The Indian Army is contributing in this swadeshi initiative," he said.
He said "Aatmanirbhar Bharat" is not a choice anymore but it is an inevitable reality. General Naravane further said that every young student is an important and integral part of the nation-building process.
"There is a need to move forward towards providing solutions rather than finding solutions. Young innovators and entrepreneurs are bringing this change. Recently, a start-up company set up by students of IIT-Bombay, called Idea forge, made cutting edge high altitude drone for the Indian Army and bagged an order worth ₹ 130 crore.
"The India Army, Navy and Air Force provide opportunities for youth to fulfil their dreams and contribute towards national security," he said.