He told top commanders of the armed forces that international strategic and political environment has deteriorated and it must be factored in in the policies that India adopts internally or externally.
Dr Singh cautioned that terrorist groups were now "highly networked, nimble-footed, more lethal" and said there was need for appropriate responses. He described cyber threats as an emerging "major source of worry" as he pointed out that cyber and information warfare could "qualitatively change" the concept of a battlefield.
"Your conference is taking place at a time when the country is faced with multiple challenges. In this age of rapid information flows and explosion of technologies, one of the most important security imperatives is our ability to respond to these challenges quickly and in an integrated fashion," Dr Singh said.
He said most major powers are pre-occupied with their own domestic problems, which has made the task of "effective and coordinated global response to international issues that much more difficult."
While India must work with the international community to address global issues, "we must strengthen our own capabilities and be ready to stand on our own feet, whenever required", he said as he listed the challenges like terrorism, Left-wing extremism and piracy.
"We must, therefore, consolidate our own strategic autonomy and independence of thought and action," he said.