It is a fact that Nirmala Sitharaman, the new Defence Minister has in a short period endeared herself to the services by showing an industrious and diligent streak in her personality. Her dynamism to get things done is being seen as a positive development by the Services because after becoming the Defence Minister she has been very active in pursuing her goals. Apart from holding regular meetings with all three Service Chiefs and the Defence Secretary to ensure quick decision making in her ministry, she has laid special emphasis on the need to step up the pace of military procurement which despite some dynamism shown by the erstwhile Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, in the past, the state of equipment procurement and modernisation remains entirely unsatisfactory.
The Indian Army lacks modern weaponry. This includes basic weapons like carbines, and larger weapons like the artillery guns and howitzers. Additionally it lacks helicopters (light and attack helicopters), surveillance and communication equipment, air defence guns and missiles and modern anti-tank missiles, night of some categories of ammunition which has adversely affected even the training of the soldiery. This is just a sample of the items required to be replaced/procured at the earliest. The list of items, if collated, arm and service wise would be endless. The Minister has also declared that she will hold meetings of the Defence Acquisition Council once every two weeks.
Her recent visits to the border areas in Arunachal and Sikkim, aerial survey of Dokalam and Nathu La area, and visits to the Army and Air force stations in these regions have evoked very positive responses from the countrymen and the Indian soldiery. These visits are indicative of the great interest she is taking in understanding the operational environment in the Eastern Theatre which we could say has been somewhat neglected by the political leadership in the past.
For a long time India has felt the need for a dynamic defence minister who was willing to understand issues on the ground and even visit to the high altitude areas to meet the soldiery. Gen- - - seldom move out to the operational sectors. Thus the visit of Nirmala Sitharaman to the operational sectors of the Eastern Theatre is a very positive step for it is not only good for the morale of the soldiery but is indicative of a devoted defence minister who wants to understand the operational dynamics of each theatre of operations and wants to see the actual ground conditions in various sectors of a theatre.
For many years we have been reading and hearing about the proposals for raising three new commands under three new Commanders-in-chief (Army Commanders equivalent) namely, the Cyber Command, the Space Command and the Special Forces Command. It seems that these are now likely to be sanctioned by the government in the near future. These new tri-service organizations are currently being envisaged as agencies/division commanded by Major General equivalents of the army, navy, and the air force in the above - tions are likely to be raised shortly even though they have been in the pipeline for consideration for likely to see the raising of the Defence Cyber Agency, Defence Space Agency and the Special Forces Division in the next few months or so. Their formation was announced by the Ministry of Defence in July this year, and the proposal is with the government for approval.