ED­I­TO­RIAL

SP's LandForces - - LEAD STORY - Lt Gen­eral V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

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.

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