EX­CLU­SIVE IN­TER­VIEW

‘We need multi-role force ca­pa­bil­i­ties wherein con­ven­tional and sub­con­ven­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties can be bal­anced to re­spond across the spec­trum of con­flict’

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE -

Gen­eral Bipin Rawat took over as the new Chief of the Army Staff on Jan­uary 1, 2017. In an in­ter­view with SP’s Land Forces, he gave his can­did views on a wide range of sub­jects and the ma­jor chal­lenges con­fronting the In­dian Army and how these are be­ing tack­led in­sti­tu­tion­ally. Ex­cerpts from the in­ter­view.

SP’s Land Forces (SP’s): Hav­ing taken over the reins of our il­lus­tri­ous In­dian Army at the start of the new year 2017 and with a fairly rea­son­able ten­ure of three years you are in a po­si­tion to make sub­stan­tial changes within the force and in main­tain­ing a cor­dial civil-mil­i­tary re­la­tion­ship. What will be your key re­sult ar­eas that you may have chalked out for your­self? Chief of the Army Staff (COAS):

The vi­sion state­ment and thrust ar­eas have been enun­ci­ated by my pre­de­ces­sor. I find these are all en­com­pass­ing, well de­fined and we need to con­tinue with our ef­forts in re­al­is­ing these. An abrupt change would only cause con­fu­sion amongst the rank and file of the Army. These are re­it­er­ated as un­der: Vi­sion. En­sure ca­pa­bil­ity en­hance­ment and op­er­a­tional ef­fec­tive­ness of the Army to meet all con­tem­po­rary and emerg­ing chal­lenges.

Key Re­sult Ar­eas

– En­sure the high­est stan­dard of op­er­a­tional pre­pared­ness to meet present and emerg­ing chal­lenges.

– En­sure force mod­erni­sa­tion in­cor­po­rat­ing rel­e­vant con­tem­po­rary tech­nolo­gies.

– Make up crit­i­cal de­fi­ciency of weap

ons and equip­ment at the ear­li­est. – De­velop req­ui­site ca­pac­i­ties and in­fra­struc­ture with spe­cial em­pha­sis on our north­ern and north-east­ern bor­ders. – En­hance in­ter-Ser­vices joint­man­ship

at all lev­els in let­ter and spirit. – En­sure the high­est level of se­cu­rity con­scious­ness amongst our rank and file.

– Op­ti­mally en­hance hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment to fully ex­ploit the in­her­ent strength of the In­dian Army. – Im­prove the qual­ity of life and liv­ing con­di­tions of all ranks with spe­cial em­pha­sis on the sol­dier.

– Fos­ter an or­gan­i­sa­tional cli­mate based on mu­tual re­spect and ca­ma­raderie amongst all ranks.

– En­sure req­ui­site wel­fare mea­sures for

ex-ser­vice­men and Veer Naris.

SP’s: The ex­ter­nal threats and chal­lenges to In­dia’s sovereignty are evolv­ing at a rapid rate and the na­ture of wars has changed. As you have seen these de­vel­op­ments tak­ing place in your ser­vice in the Army, what do you think should be done to ar­rest the de­cline and to re­store the Army’s mod­erni­sa­tion sta­tus? In your view which are the pri­or­ity ar­eas for mod­erni­sa­tion? COAS:

Army is do­ing its best to ex­pe­dite the pro­cure­ment and max­imise op­er­a­tional readi­ness. We have set achiev­able tar­gets and we are mak­ing steady progress. In-house mea­sures have been ini­ti­ated to re­duce pro­cure­ment time­lines. These in­clude strength­en­ing of the pro­cure­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions, en­sur­ing con­cur­rent pro­cure­ment ac­tiv­i­ties, faster de­ci­sion mak­ing and es­tab­lish­ment of a ro­bust mon­i­tor­ing mech­a­nism. With con­certed fo­cus and spe­cial im­pe­tus on in­di­geni­sa­tion, as re­flected in the De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure (DPP) 2016, the sit­u­a­tion will im­prove in the com­ing years. Gov­ern­ment has im­ple­mented sev­eral pol­icy ini­ti­ates such as lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of FDI pol­icy and in­dus­trial li­cens­ing pol­icy, sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of ex­port pro­ce­dures, cre­at­ing level play­ing field for In­dian pri­vate and pub­lic en­ter­prises, stream­lin­ing of off­set im­ple­men­ta­tion process and pro­vid­ing pref­er­ence to ‘Buy (In­dian)’, ‘Buy and Make (In­dian)’ cat­e­gories of cap­i­tal ac­quis­tion over ‘Buy (Global)’ cat­e­gory in DPP to make the coun­try sel­f­re­liant in de­fence pro­duc­tion.

The In­dian Army has iden­ti­fied 24 pri­or­ity pro­pos­als which are crit­i­cally re­quired; the pro­cure­ment for the same is be­ing pur­sued on fast-track ba­sis with sup­port from the gov­ern­ment. Broadly, these schemes ad­dress mod­erni­sa­tion of our mech­a­nised fleet, night en­able­ment, re­place­ment of avi­a­tion as­sets and em­pow­er­ment of the sol­dier by im­prov­ing bat­tle­field trans­parency and fa­cil­i­tat­ing de­ci­sion mak­ing process.

I am quite sat­is­fied with the progress. With much co­or­di­nated ef­fort, we have been able to ink the con­tract for pro­cure­ment of 145 ULHs (ul­tra light how­itzers). We have also ini­ti­ated a large num­ber of cases which are at trial or GS eval­u­a­tion stage. Over­all, I think we are mov­ing well. Mi­nor gl­itches will al­ways be there and those have to be over­come.

SP’s: Con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent threats and chal­lenges con­fronting In­dia and the na­ture of wars in our con­text in the fu­ture what ma­jor changes do you fore­see in the force struc­tur­ing and re-or­gan­i­sa­tion of the armed forces?

COAS:

Force struc­tur­ing is a dy­namic process and fu­ture se­cu­rity sce­nar­ios need to be bench­marked against ap­pre­ci­ated time­lines and se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions. These need to be eval­u­ated from the perspective of na­tional in­ter­ests and its con­comi­tant re­quire­ments on mil­i­tary as an in­stru­ment of na­tional power.

In the present day, our prin­ci­pal re­gional and ex­tra re­gional threats are from across the land fron­tiers. The threats need to be de­terred by main­tain­ing req­ui­site ‘strike for­ma­tions’. The ac­tive bor­ders char­ac­terised by harsh and in­hos­pitable ter­rain man­date a 24 x 7 x 365 vigil with ‘boots on ground’. These threats need to be de­terred by main­tain­ing com­bat ready ‘strike for­ma­tions’ thus trans­lat­ing into force struc­ture im­per­a­tives.

We need multi-role force ca­pa­bil­i­ties wherein con­ven­tional and sub­con­ven­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties can be bal­anced to re­spond across the spec­trum of con­flict, with min­i­mum re­struc­tur­ing and at op­ti­mum costs. We need to make a tran­si­tion from the present ‘threat-cum-ca­pa­bil­ity based force struc­tur­ing’, which has its un­der­lin­ing theme as ‘war pre­ven­tion through de­ter­rence’, to­wards a ‘ca­pa­bil­ity based mo­du­lar and re­spon­sive struc­ture’ based on en­vis­aged fu­ture force ap­pli­ca­tion sce­nar­ios. Right-siz­ing com­men­su­rate to on­go­ing mod­erni­sa­tion is also a key im­per­a­tive that im­pacts cur­rent and fu­ture force struc­tures.

With emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies, we must en­sure that our weapon sys­tems and equip­ment in­cor­po­rates tech­nol­ogy up­grades and are ca­pa­ble of op­er­at­ing in a digi­tised net­worked en­vi­ron­ment. For the com­plete in­ter­view, please re­fer to: SP’s Mil­i­tary Year­book 2016-2017

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