Mod­erni­sa­tion Through ‘Make in In­dia’ – COAS

The ac­qui­si­tion process has been pri­ori­tised and has been di­vided into three cat­e­gories: First is Crit­i­cal, sec­ond is Im­por­tant and third is Essen­tial

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - Ranjeet Ku­mar

The ac­qui­si­tion process has been pri­ori­tised and has been di­vided into three cat­e­gories: First is Crit­i­cal, sec­ond is Im­por­tant and third is Essen­tial.

THE TRA­DI­TIONAL AN­NUAL ARMY Day me­dia in­ter­ac­tion of the Chief of the Army Staff General Dal­bir Singh was hi­jacked by the is­sue of ter­ror at­tacks on Pathankot air­base and the role played by Army along with other se­cu­rity agen­cies.

How­ever, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) did talk at length about the se­cu­rity chal­lenges the Army is fac­ing and its mod­erni­sa­tion process. Re­gard­ing mod­erni­sa­tion, the Army Chief re­vealed that the ac­qui­si­tion process has been pri­ori­tised and has been di­vided into three cat­e­gories: First is Crit­i­cal, sec­ond is Im­por­tant and third is Essen­tial. Ac­cord­ing to the Chief, the Army Head­quar­ters has made pro­vi­sions for seven items un­der Crit­i­cal, 17 sys­tems un­der Im­por­tant and rest in Essen­tial cat­e­gory.

“We are fo­cus­ing on the crit­i­cal and im­por­tant ar­eas in last two years,” said the Army Chief. The ar­tillery guns and upgra­da­tion of air de­fence guns like Schilka have been in­cluded in the Crit­i­cal list, which are be­ing up­graded reg­u­larly. In this list, we are also giv­ing pri­or­ity to the SRSAM and MRSAM sys­tem ac­qui­si­tions and all are mov­ing in de­sired man­ner. The ac­qui­si­tion of selfpro­pelled towed guns and other cat­e­gories of guns are mov­ing in right di­rec­tions. The upgra­da­tion of the mech­a­nised forces are also go­ing on,” said the Army Chief.

The De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil has also cleared third-gen­er­a­tion mis­sile sys­tems. Akash mis­sile has also been in­ducted in the Army. We are to­tally fo­cus­ing on mod­erni­sa­tion. The COAS re­vealed that “the Vice Chief keeps a track on the mod­erni­sa­tion process on a daily ba­sis and I take a look at it on a weekly ba­sis. ‘Make in In­dia’, I feel, is crit­i­cal. Many sys­tems we have to buy im­me­di­ately and then there are sys­tems to be ac­quired through the trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy.”

The Army Chief re­jected me­dia re­ports that the de­ci­sion to set up the Moun­tain Strike Corps has been cur­tailed sub­stan­tially. He em­phat­i­cally re­but­ted me­dia re­ports that the Moun­tain Strike Corps will not be set up in its orig­i­nal plan, due to funds crunch. The Army Chief as­serted that it is go­ing as per plan and the Corps will be raised as per sched­ule by 2021. He also re­pu­di­ated me­dia re­ports that there has been in­struc­tions from cer­tain quar­ters to slow down the rais­ing of the Corps. He as­serted that there has been no bud­getary cuts.

Talk­ing about Army’s role in na­tional se­cu­rity the Chief said that the In­dian Army and me­dia play a cru­cial role in na­tional se­cu­rity. It is this con­ver­gence and syn­ergy of ef­forts that plays a vi­tal link in na­tional se­cu­rity and so­ci­ety. He com­pli­mented the me­dia for their sup­port to the In­dian Army which has been a force mul­ti­plier in na­tion-build­ing ef­forts.

In In­dian con­text the chal­lenges the Army is fac­ing is to pre­serve na­tional in­ter­ests against in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal threats. Re­fer­ring to dis­putes on the line of con­trol (LOC) and line of ac­tual con­trol (LAC) and cease­fire vi­o­la­tions and in­sur­gency in the North­east, the Army Chief as­serted that the Army is ever ready to face any chal­lenges thrown to them. He said that ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of un­de­mar­cated LAC on north­ern bor­ders, con­sol­i­da­tion of in­ter­nal se­cu­rity situation in the North­east re­mains an on­go­ing com­mit­ment. Re­gard­ing the on­go­ing proxy war in Jammu and Kash­mir and in­sur­gency in the North­east, the Chief said that the na­tional se­cu­rity chal­lenges con­tinue to pose se­ri­ous threats. To ef­fec­tively meet all these chal­lenges this gives in­her­ent pri­macy to land forces. Apart from the tra­di­tional eco­nomic threats we have the ex­ist­ing ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal threats and re­gional se­cu­rity dy­nam­ics.

Army De­sign Bureau

The Army Chief said that a large num­ber of mea­sures have been ini­ti­ated to ex­pe­dite the in­duc­tion of mod­ern hard­ware and sys­tems. The ac­qui­si­tion of sys­tems will be done through the De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure (DPP) which should be get­ting pro­mul­gated very soon. This will surely en­sure pro­bity and trans­parency, and greater ac­count­abil­ity in de­fence ac­qui­si­tions. The Army Chief said that no na­tion can as­pire to ac­quire a great power sta­tus with­out in­dige­nous re­search and devel­op­ment and de­fence pro­duc­tion base. In line with the ‘Make in In­dia’ pro­gramme of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, the In­dian Army is pur­su­ing an am­bi­tious indi­geni­sa­tion pro­gramme to meet the mod­erni­sa­tion tar­get. Our ad­vances in this do­main have been sub­stan­tive. General Dal­bir Singh said that he would like to share that max­i­mum ac­cep­tance of ne­ces­sity for the Army has been ac­corded in the cat­e­gory of Buy and Make (In­dian).

He also claimed that 50 per cent of the pro­cure­ment con­tracts have been is­sued to the In­dian in­dus­try. In the past two years, 55 per cent of our mod­erni­sa­tion bud­get has been spent on in­dige­nous in­dus­try to meet long-term needs of the In­dian Army. In line with the ‘Make in In­dia’ pro­gramme the In­dian Army is pur­su­ing in­dige­nous pro­gramme. In last five years we have cleared 63 per cent of pro­cure­ment con­tracts with In­dian in­dus­try.

In terms of value, 55 per cent of In­dian bud­get has been spent on in­dige­nous pro­gramme. The Army Head­quar­ters has also set up the Army De­sign Bureau to pro­vide tech­ni­cal in­puts to the De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) along with the rel­e­vant man­u­fac­tur­ing agen­cies. The Army thus would find it eas­ier to help in ‘Make in In­dia’ pro­gramme. De­spite the tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances it is the man be­hind the ma­chine, but it is the ma­chine that counts. Un­der ‘Make in In­dia’ scheme the fu­ture in­fantry com­bat ve­hi­cle (FICV), up­grades of BMP, fu­ture ready com­bat ve­hi­cle (FRCV) will be handed over to the In­dian pri­vate sec­tor for long-term needs of the In­dian Army. Work­shops have re­cently been con­ducted in Delhi and planned in ma­jor in­dus­trial hubs like Ben­galuru and Ahmed­abad. And we also oc­ca­sion­ally or­gan­ise meet­ings with the In­dian in­dus­try.

The Army De­sign Bureau is be­ing set up to con­cen­trate on de­sign ex­per­tise and to pro­vide tech­ni­cal in­puts and ex­per­tise to DRDO and will also help in the ‘Make in In­dia’ pro­gramme. All of these ini­tia­tives are de­signed to en­hance do­mes­tic ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Em­pha­sis­ing the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing the high morale of the men, the Army Chief said that It is vi­tally im­por­tant to main­tain the hu­man re­source. He as­sured the na­tion that Army is highly mo­ti­vated and fully ready to re­spond to threats.

In re­sponse to a ques­tion by SP Guide Pub­li­ca­tions, the Army Chief said that “the se­cu­rity chal­lenges keep chang­ing in a dy­namic en­vi­ron­ment. We fo­cus on cy­ber threats and also carry out cy­ber au­dit. Be­sides, the asym­met­ric threat is on rise. There are ar­eas in which there has been very lit­tle progress or no progress. For ex­am­ple, the ac­qui­si­tion of ar­tillery guns as we have not got the guns for 28 years. How­ever, we have seen progress in re­cent years. The ac­qui­si­tion of ar­tillery guns have been cleared. Large num­ber of pro­cure­ment cases have been cleared. These are in var­i­ous stages of im­ple­men­ta­tion. The gov­ern­ment has cleared the ac­qui­si­tion of 814 guns. The Va­jra and Dhanush are in var­i­ous stages of pro­cure­ments and tri­als. As far as pro­cure­ment of bul­let proof jack­ets is con­cerned the ac­qui­si­tion process of about 1,86,000 bul­let proof jack­ets is un­der way. First tri­als have been com­pleted and the sec­ond tri­als are on. The Army has also is­sued new General Staff Qual­i­ta­tive Re­quire­ments (GSQR) for 60,000 bul­let proof jack­ets.”

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