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Army chief, commanders agree to transform army, trim headquarters, create verticals

Updated: Sep 13, 2018, 07.00 AM IST
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Army chief, commanders agree to transform army, trim headquarters, create verticals
A general agreement has been reached on restructuring the army.
NEW DELHI: The Indian Army top brass has come to an agreement that there is a need to transform the army into a more agile fighting force to meet current and future threats. There was a consensus in trimming down the main headquarters by merging certain departments and creating verticals for dealing with operational, procurement and logistical matters for faster decision making.

This comes in the backdrop of reports claiming that the army as part of its restructuring is mulling 1.5 lakh troop cuts over the next few years, with authoritative sources in the government, however, asserting that no proposal for reducing the strength of the defence forces is under consideration.

“It is extremely unfortunate that the Congress Party has once again hurled today unfounded allegations against the Government and shedding crocodile tears for the brave men and women who defend the country…No proposal for reducing the strength of the defence forces, as alleged by the Congress, is under the Government’s consideration,” said authoritative sources.

“The government also attaches the highest priority to modernise our Armed Forces and ensuring their preparedness in accordance with the emerging challenges, and strategic and technological imperatives,”added the sources.

The agreement on organisational restructuring was reached at a high level meeting between Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and his army commanders in Delhi on Tuesday. Sources explained that the meeting, which was held to discuss four ongoing internal studies on the major transformation exercise, witnessed a general agreement on restructuring the army.

“It was also decided that there is a need to trim down the army headquarters in Delhi,” said sources. This will include subsuming the Directorate General of Military Training with the Army Training Command, as reported by ET earlier. Both have similar roles. The DGMT executes training plans for operations, war games, joint training, etc, while the ARTRAC controls the training establishments and writes training pamphlets. The idea behind this move is to ensure that there is no overlapping work between some branches, which leads to duplication.

The top brass also agreed on relocating the Director General of Rashtriya Rifles to the Northern Command. This stems from the feeling that the DG Rashtriya Rifles, who is currently based at the Army Headquarters in Delhi, would be better suited at the Udhampur-based Northern Command, because he can contribute better to the administrative, logistical and weapon requirements of his troops.

Similarly other army directorates could also be moving out, but this is yet to be worked out.

“There was also a consensus on having verticals for operations, logistics and procurements and having only one head for each of them. These verticals will be headed by Lieutenant General rank officers. The aim would be for swifter decision making and remove duplicity,” explained sources.

The logistics section, for instance, is a major chunk of the army and has several department in it. Sources, however, added that a final decision on these measures will be taken after more detailed examination. The four studies on these measures will be sent to the field formations for gaining more inputs, which will be discussed again at the Army Commanders Conference in October.

The studies are on restructuring the army headquarters, reorganising the army towards having an agile structure for field formations, cadre review for better promotional avenues and review of the terms and conditions of Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks. These studies are aimed at transforming the army into an efficient fighting machine with better combat capabilities to meet current and future threats.
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