Boasting the capability of Indian Army using drones to attack hostile targets across the Line of Control, and if needed inside the J&K, the Army Chief Bipin Rawat said that if the nation is willing to accept the ‘collateral damage’ or any ‘mistake’ arising out of it, then Indian army has the proven capacity to use the same in real warfare situations. While he was responding to a question whether India can use such drone strikes against terrorist hide outs in PoK like US, he said that India can very well use the same provided there are clearances at high level of the government to do so.
“There is just no problem in using these kinds of weapons on either Indian side of the Line of Control or in PoK. When you talk of strikes drones, how does the Israeli strike the Hezbollah-how do they do it? You see, they have sources on the ground, who pinpoint a vehicle and they electronically mark the vehicle. The vehicle gets marked and a drone takes off in the air, and hits that vehicle. God help you if you are in the following vehicle—you are also gone.”
“Now this kind of thing is possible in that are—in that country. In our country you have seen the kind of repercussions…the kind of flak that you face when you take such action even against a stone-pelter, who is carrying out offensive action against you.
“In our country, the way things are moving, it is very nice to say we need these drones. But will you accept mistakes being committed by such weapons systems? You have to accept it. If the nation will spare us, for the kind of mistakes that may get committed using such kind of weapons, then I think we can take a call.”
The army chief delivered the ninth Y.B. Chavan Memorial Lecture at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) at New Delhi. His subject was ‘hybrid conflict’ – a term that describes a range of hostile strategies that a belligerent enemy can use in place of conventional warfare, especially against an enemy with a strong conventional military advantage. He further elaborated on the point of using drone by the Indian Army, “You see, across also there can be mistakes. Either way, whether in your territory or the territory across, there will be mistakes. So if we are willing to accept these mistakes, and we feel that there will be no repercussions, there will be no backlash, there is a way forward.
“It’s not to say that we can’t use it. That is the reason why we are trying to procure these weapons. But these weapons are being procured more for… not for the hybrid warfare systems, we’re looking at it from the conventional war… but yes, anything that we procure has got dual use.
“But the first issue is of collateral damage. We get so concerned. In your own nation, your people get concerned about collateral damage so much – when you are fighting this kind of warfare, I think you have to accept that collateral damage will happen. It is war. If that is something which we can accept, then there is just no problem in using these kinds of weapons.
“But can we accept it. Will the international community get after us? Or will they spare us in case mistakes happen? That is a call we have to take. Otherwise there is just no problem in using it.”
The Army Chief Mr. Rawat has often expressed his views which are in the nature of following an assertive and aggressive military policy particularly against hybrid threats that India is facing since last three decades.