Lt Gen VG Khandare, the second Military Adviser to India’s National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) recently received a one-year extension in the current role. He works directly with the National Security Adviser (NSA).
Previously, Lt Gen Khandare has served as Director-General of the Defence Intelligence Agency and Deputy Chief of Integrated Services. In his long and illustrious career, he has served on various commanding positions in Kargil, North Kashmir, the Chinese front, Doklam and Eastern Ladakh, and UN peacekeeping missions. Numerous awards, both national and international, have been conferred upon him, including the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) and Ati Vishisnt Seva Medal (AVSM) by the President of India.
It was an honour for team Lokmaanya to interact with him. Some excerpts:
How would you describe your experience during your first stint as the Military Adviser at NSCS?
My experience as the Military Adviser at the NSCS has been very constructive, fully dedicated to our national security. In short-of-war situations, nations do face many other challenges. We have to tide over them without allowing panic to creep. As a strong nation, we must handle all situations with confidence, and I am glad I have been contributing my part to this exercise.
You are the second military advisor in the history of the NSCS, with the first one having served from 2011 to 2014. What does your appointment in these times indicate about India’s defence policy?
Yes, I am the second Military Adviser at NSCS. India’s defence policy is decisive, and we are firm in doing whatever it takes to protect our national interests.
You have been working on defence cooperation in our neighbourhood. Do you see multilateral military cooperation increasing in the coming years, given current geopolitical conditions and the increasing multipolarity in the world?
Global geopolitics are always dynamic, and India has always stood for building cooperation and fostering relations. However, our national interests come first, and whatever is in Indian interests shall be done.
You are an expert on Information Warfare. How would you describe the information warfare that’s happening in South Asia, especially India? How is the government looking to tackle it, and what can we citizens do about it?
There is no doubt that our adversaries are waging Information Warfare on us. But we can and have always won every war when we have been united – our history proves it. In the Information Warfare, our citizens are the warriors. When we believe in rumours and/or spread them, it is the nation that loses.
As a nation, we must always win, so we citizens have to have faith, trust, and belief in our nation. We must question the rumours spread by anti-national elements or simply, some ignorant people. It is not an exaggeration to say that Information Wars are won through the unity and faith of citizens.
You are also a keen observer of and have been dealing with space, cyber and upcoming disruptive technologies in the field of defence. Why do you feel India should be equipped with expertise and technology in these areas?
The results which disruptive technologies give to the nation that possesses technological prowess are significantly greater in proportion. Our current geopolitical environment is dominated by new forms of warfare – non-contact, non-kinetic, non-linear.
We need to speed up our progress and bridge the technology gap that currently exists between us and our adversaries. We need to move ahead with as much speed as possible. Cyber and space are new domains of a silent and deniable war. Every citizen is a stakeholder in such situations and to ensure good and consistent results, the nation, especially the youth must focus on the national good.
There is a visible surge of interest in defence and geopolitics among youth all over the country, even beyond metropolitan regions. Besides serving in the Armed Forces, how can they contribute to our nation’s security? What would be your advice to them?
The increase in interest is commendable. Each citizen has a role to play, and each of us has to contribute. It is just like working in teams; you have a role, and you have to do your bit to contribute to the team effort. We must all pitch in towards making our country powerful through economy, science and research, industry, agriculture, education, knowledge, arts and culture, sports and of course, the military as well. In whatever field we perform, we have to perform well and become powerful in as less time as possible. That’s our contribution, as youngsters and as individuals. We should always aim to be winners because when we win, the nation wins too.
Gauri Noolkar-Oak is a transboundary water conflicts researcher and has studied river basins in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. She is also the Founder of Lokmaanya.
The views and opinions expressed in the above article belong to the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official opinion, policy or position of Lokmaanya.