While countries are struggling to rein in the virus, “certain countries” have seized the opportunity to extend their influence militarily, economically and politically, which does not augur well for the world community, said Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lieutenant General Saini on Wednesday.
Virtually addressing participants at the ‘National Defence Course Bangladesh on post-COVID-19 security challenges’, he said that “future wars may gravitate towards zero cost wars, wherein a very virulent pathogen may immobilise high-technology arsenal”.
He said that “weaker militaries will continue to seek an asymmetric advantage in an unrestricted warfare milieu” while “social media will continue to be the vector of choice for the battle of narratives”.
On the impact of the pandemic, Lt. Gen. Saini said that strategic security of most nations has been impacted due to reduction in funds for military capabilities and projects since vast sums of money have been diverted for urgent health requirements. “Many countries fuelled by ultra-nationalism are experiencing an accelerated process of de-globalisation leading to the closing of borders for the movement of goods, people, services and even ideas,” he remarked on the trend of “de-globalisation”.
Talking of the impact of COVID-19 on the military, Lt. Gen. Saini said “force sustainment is a challenge due to delays in delivery schedules owing to production halts and workforce disruptions” and called for “technology-enabled solutions for integrated identification, control and management of such threats”.
He emphasised that “militaries of the region must evolve a defence cooperation plan since they will become the first responders during such health disasters”. Lt. Gen. Saini had attended the National Defence College Bangladesh in 2011.