Lt Gen Jasbir Singh, AVSM, VSM Director General Infantry, Lt Gen Jasbir Singh, presented an outline on the progress being made towards modernisation of Infantry. He stated that adequate impetus has been given to modernise the Infantry soldier. He acknowledged the fact that at present, an Infantry soldier does not have the latest state-of-the-art weapons such as night vision devices, hand grenades, clothing and equipment. Lt Gen Singh stated that Hybrid wars have become a reality and cited the example of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israelâ€™s war with Hezbollah in which, well-trained militants used high technology and equipment against regular forces. Thus, he emphasised the need of equipping the Indian soldier at the earliest in order to take on any assigned task. To ensure appropriate and early procurement, a series of actions have been initiated by the Infantry Directorate such as new General Staff Qualitative Requirementsâ€”formulated to meet the requirements of the modern day soldier. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Col HS Faujdar Col HS Faujdar stated that India is faced with a security situation where it has to counter adversaries armed with nuclear weapons, combat a long-drawn proxy war, terrorism and issues relating to internal security. India is yet to develop a â€˜two-frontâ€™ capability to face a simultaneously launched conventional threat from China and Pakistan. In addition, the growing proximity of Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar towards China does not bode well for Indiaâ€™s external and homeland security concerns. Besides, significant emerging flashpoints in the form of left wing extremism involving as many as 160 districts in 14 states are leading to critical concern. In future, the conventional conflicts would be of a shorter duration with greater intensity, causing large-scale destruction owing to the increased range and lethality of weapon systems and munitions. Upgraded surveillance systems will not only detect the targets but will successfully bring down effective fire through in-built or networked fire control systems. Sensor-shooter loop will thus be shortened to reduce time lag and exploit fleeting opportunities. Junior commanders will have to be prepared to shoulder greater responsibility with regards to decision-making and command of mission-oriented small teams. Operations shall continue to be infantry-centric, albeit with greater reliance on mission-oriented small teams. Challenges to an infantry soldier in the battlefield will likely arise from detection, engagement during day and night, mines, lasers and precision-guided munitions. Therefore, while the basic role of the infantry across the spectrum of conflict will continue to be to close in with the enemy and destroy him and hold ground against all forms of enemy attack, modernisation would be instrumental in improving the infantryâ€™s lethality, survival, mobility, sustainability and communications. Col Faujdar said thrust areas of modernisation in infantry include lethality and effectiveness of its weapons, mobility, survival, sustainability and communications. Infantry has to adopt defensive measures to defeat the adversaryâ€™s weapon systems and ammunition. Secondly, it has to improve upon its own weapons arsenal so as to achieve a distinct edge in terms of range, precision and attrition. Mobility continues to be a sore point with infantry units and formations for which the issue of organic mobility, matching mobility with mechanised formations and exploitation of the third dimension needs to be seriously considered. It should also be pointed out that the survival of infantry is related to the ability to suppress enemyâ€™s fire and surveillance means in the battlefield. In the nuclear, biological and chemical backdrop of future conflicts, there would be a requirement of providing protection to the personnel, equipment and materials by means of providing hardened and environmentally controlled shelters. For operations in a prolonged- duration set up, there should be a reliable system of re-supply and evacuation. In an intense and fluid battlefield, communications are bound to assume primacy. Modern day communication means the ability to transmit and receive voice, data, video and imagery in real or near real time. The equipment should be light, rugged, tropicalised and hardened against electro-magnetic pulse damage. The other features should include enhanced range, frequency-hopping, encryption and electronic counter-measures.