Top commanders of the Armed Forces and the civilian government discussed the concept of a new doctrine at length during the six-day armed forces commanders’ conference held in New Delhi in the month of April 2017. The previous joint doctrine, which was released in 2006, was based on the successful joint operation made during the Kargil War against Pakistan in 1999.

Major objectives of the new doctrine

The objectives of the joint doctrine are as follows:

  • Outlining the national security to tackle “external and internal threats”
  • How to tackle “traditional and non-traditional threats.”
  • Drawing up India’s roadmap to counter cyber war in the next decade

General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff, stressed the need to work in a collaborative manner for maintaining combat effectiveness of the Army in his closing remarks of the commanders’ conference on April 22. He expressed confidence at the way the Army has been adapting itself to the dynamic internal and external operational environment. He said, “There is a need for sustained and holistic modernization of the Army wherein combat and maneuver of arms, Air Defense and Aviation are a high priority.” Given the limited resources, joint military doctrine will help the government to use defense fund in an effective manner not to hamper modernization. Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, the Chief of Air Staff, and Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of Naval Staff, had also addressed the conference emphasizing the need to create a joint operational philosophy.

India’s latest Joint Armed Forces Doctrine was made public in the third week of April 2017. The document offers insight into the principles that guide the Indian military’s approach to warfighting. Released by Admiral Sunil Lanba, the chairman of the Indian chiefs of staff committee, the document focuses on India’s conception of its national security and its strategy for managing threats across the “full spectrum of military conflict.” In this sense, the document addresses the principles guiding the Indian military’s approach to everything from nuclear war to internal security and counter-insurgency.


Following are the highlights of the new Joint Armed Forces Doctrine:

Surgical Strikes- The doctrine has first time mentioned use of ‘surgical strikes’ as a method to strike the terrorist outfits, which attack the Indian people and establishment. This is supposed to be a clear signal, especially to the terrorist outfits supported by state and non-state players in Pakistan that India would although remain controlled in war mongering, it will not spare those who have nefarious designs against India. Although India reportedly carried out surgical strikes in the past, it is first time that Joint Armed Forces Doctrine has explicitly mentioned it as a method to respond against terror threats.

Nuclear Strategy- First time India dropped the dictum or principle of “credible minimum deterrence” (CMD) with regard to development and use of nuclear power for “credible deterrence” (CD) instead. It is break from the past as CMD had been a mainstay in India’s nuclear strategy since the release of its draft nuclear doctrine in 1999. It is again an indication of India’s hardened stance on it defense strategy  which would not rely only on negotiated solutions to the issues, but also use coercive diplomacy including punitive destruction, disruption and constraint in a nuclear environment across the Spectrum of Conflict. Disruption is defined as “a lower form of armed conflict designed to shatter the cohesion of an adversary’s military force to prevent it from functioning effectively in combat. However, the document does emphasize that “no first use” remains a “defining” feature for India’s own nuclear C2 (the command and control (C2) systems), thereby upholding an important cornerstone of Indian doctrine since 1999.

Enhancing Sphere of influence by international defense cooperation– The document calls for “complete and effective inter-operability” with “countries, big and small.” The document articulates India’s aspirations as a regional power and also India’s concerns with regard to the Indian diaspora overseas as well as international issues of larger concerns. India would now seek ever-closer logistics, communications, and intelligence collaboration with countries ranging from the United States, Japan, and Australia to smaller powers in Southeast Asia. Moreover, echoing the 2015 maritime security strategy, the joint doctrine emphasizes the salience of the Indian “diaspora” to the country’s national security strategy, “especially in the Middle East / North African regions, which are home to millions of Indians, remain central to our external security paradigm.”

Separation of nuclear power for military and civilian purposes– The document throws light on how India separates the control of its nuclear weapons between military and civilian authorities.

Vision about future conflicts– The document has given detail on how the Indian armed forces envision future conflicts. In view of the flux which geopolitics is at present passing through, the document foresees “unrestricted, unpredictable, and hybrid” conflicts in future which would require both civil-military engagements.

 In the final assessment the latest Joint Armed Forces Doctrine reflects India’s aspirations to play a greater role in international peace and conflict resolution, but at the same time it also reflects that although India will slowly drift to hard stances where its own security would be involved and respond with punitive measures and weapons of deterrence with enemies, it would remain a responsible power without desire for military expansionism.

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The commerce and industry ministry says India has now become the topmost attractive destination for foreign investment. India’s FDI inflows were reported at a record $60.1 billion in 2016-17 in May 2017 (The Hindustan Times, dated May 19, 2017). Foreign Direct Investment in India increased by $3.409 billion in July of 2017. Foreign Direct Investment in India averaged $ 1.253 billion on monthly basis from 1995 until 2017, reaching an all time high of $ 5.670 billion in February of 2008 and a record low of – $ 60 million in February of 2014.

According to the commerce and industry ministry foreign direct investment inflows hit an all-time high of $60.1 billion in 2016-17. Another study by the Financial Times, entitles as “FDI in 2017”, India retained its top rank of being the world’s premier greenfield FDI investment destination for the second consecutive year, attracting $62.3 billion in 2016. India has remained ahead of China and the US as far as FDI inflows were concerned in the last year. The global investment landscape, the report said, has changed considerably in 2016 as FDI gravitated to locations experiencing the strongest economic growth, while locations in recession or facing high levels of uncertainty saw major declines. In 2016, greenfield FDI continued to rise worldwide, with capital investment increasing by more than 6% to $776.2 billion, its highest since 2011, alongside an increase in job creation by 5% to 2.02 million. However, the number of FDI projects declined 3% to 12,644. China has overtaken the US to become the second-biggest country for FDI by capital investment, recording $59 billion of announced FDI, compared with $48 billion-worth in the US. Globally, the real estate sector has claimed the top spot for capital investment, with $157.5 billion of announced FDI recorded in 2016, following an increase of 58%. In value terms, coal and natural gas witnessed an inflow of $121 billion, followed by alternate and renewable energy at $77 billion.

Measures taken by present government

The present government eased rules to lure global conglomerates to set up shop in sectors such as defence and railways. In the last three years, the government has eased 87 FDI rules across 21 sectors to accelerate economic growth and boost jobs. FDI inflows were at $55.6 billion for the year ending March 2016, which was a record. In 2016-17, the FDI inflows were even higher at $60.08 billion.

Since 2014, the Modi government opened up “conservative” sectors like rail infrastructure and defence. FDI reforms were also carried out in financial sector, medical devices and construction sectors. FDI rules were radically overhauled across sectors such as broadcasting, retail trading and air transport. The present government amended legislation to hike the foreign investment cap to 49% in insurance and pension from the earlier 26%. For retail trading of food products, the government permitted 100% FDI with unqualified condition that such food products have to be manufactured or produced in India.

 In addition, initiatives such as introduction of composite caps in the FDI policy and raising the FIPB approval limit were also undertaken to promote ease of doing business in the country. In a move to reduce red tape in government and facilitate ease of doing business, the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday abolished the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) that vets foreign investment proposals. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had promised this in his February budget. Now such proposals will be scrutinised and cleared by departments concerned. Now timelines would be fixed for approving applications regarding FDI by competent authorities and a rejection by the department concerned has been made difficult as it now will mandatorily require concurrence of DIPP. So will the imposition of additional conditions other than provided in the FDI policy. For example, all FDI from Pakistan and Bangladesh and FDI proposals requiring approval in Private Security Agencies and manufacture of small arms to be approved by Ministry of Home Affairs.

Sectoral trends and sources of FDI in India

According to Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the total FDI investments India received during April-June 2017 stood at US$ 14.55 billion, indicating that government’s effort to improve ease of doing business and relaxation in FDI norms is yielding results.

Data for April-June 2017 indicates that the services sector attracted the highest FDI equity inflow of US$ 1.88 billion, followed by computer software and hardware – US$ 1.32 billion and trading – US$ 769 million. Most recently, the total FDI equity inflows for the month of June 2017 touched US$ 3.12 billion.

During April-June 2017, India received the maximum FDI equity inflows from Mauritius (US$ 3.29 billion), followed by Singapore (US$ 3.01 billion), Germany (US$ 798 million), USA (US$ 660 million), and Netherlands (US$ 584 million).

Indian impact investments may grow 25 per cent annually to US$ 40 billion from US$ 4 billion by 2025, as per Mr Anil Sinha, Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN’s) advisor for South Asia.

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