Army Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence con­cludes: need to push mod­erni­sa­tion and in­clu­sive HR poli­cies


The bian­nual Army Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence came to an end re­cently with the clos­ing re­marks of Gen­eral Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff. The Army Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence had com­menced ear­lier this month in April 2017. Army Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence is an important event in the plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion process of the In­dian Army. To en­sure due dili­gence, de­ci­sions are taken through a col­le­giate sys­tem com­pris­ing the Army Com­man­ders and other senior of­fi­cers who de­lib­er­ate upon the pre­vail­ing se­cu­rity sce­nario, strate­gic and ac­tion­able is­sues to en­sure ef­fec­tive com­bat edge of the In­dian Army.

Gen­eral Bipin Rawat, the Army Chief, in his ad­dresses em­pha­sized that all sys­tems were work­ing well and com­pli­mented all those who are work­ing on the ground. He ob­served that In­dian Army con­tin­ues to hold a strong im­age and a pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion. He ex­horted all ranks to en­deav­our to fur­ther strengthen the same. The Chief of Army Staff im­pressed upon the need to work in a col­lab­o­ra­tive man­ner for main­tain­ing com­bat ef­fec­tive­ness of the Army. He ex­pressed his con­fi­dence at the way the Army has been adapt­ing it­self to the dy­namic in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment. He added that there is a need for sus­tained and holis­tic mod­erni­sa­tion of the Army wherein com­bat and manoeuvre arms, Air De­fence and Avi­a­tion are on high pri­or­ity. The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Mar­shall BS Dhanoa and Chief of Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba also ad­dressed the con­fer­ence em­pha­sis­ing on evolv­ing a joint op­er­a­tional phi­los­o­phy.

At the con­fer­ence, it was de­cided to give heft to the mod­ern­iza­tion plan of the Army. A com­pre­hen­sive plan to speed up land ac­qui­si­tion for in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment has been de­cided to be ad­dressed through the State Govern­ments. Dur­ing the delib- er­a­tions, a ses­sion was ded­i­cated to dis­cus­sion with Min­istry of De­fense to evolve a more whole­some ac­tion plan on ad­min­is­tra­tive and mod­erni­sa­tion is­sues. Also, important is­sues hav­ing HR pol­icy ram­i­fi­ca­tions were dis­cussed. There is an im­pe­tus to evolve a more prag­matic HR plan. The core val­ues of Army though haven’t changed; rapid so­ci­etal changes and dis­cernible im­pact of so­cio-eco­nomic as­pi­ra­tions on Army were a fo­cus area of the Con­fer­ence.

The Army un­like most Govern­ment de­part­ments has a highly pyra­mi­dal struc­ture, which re­sults in over 50 per­cent per­son­nel not be­ing pro­moted de­spite be­ing highly com­pe­tent thus ne­ces­si­tat­ing op­ti­mum util­i­sa­tion of this pool of com­pe­tent per­son­nel. The Con­fer­ence de­lib­er­ated mea­sures to en­hance trans­parency and in­clu­sive­ness lead­ing to greater equa­bil­ity. The pro­pos­als to make Short Ser­vice Of­fi­cers en­try scheme more pop­u­lar, stream­lin­ing the in­take pat­tern, em­ploy­ment of Women Of­fi­cers and grant of Hon­orary ranks to Ju­nior Com­mis­sioned Of­fi­cers and Non Com­mis­sioned Of­fi­cers were also dis­cussed with pos­i­tive roadmaps.

The Army Chief dur­ing the course of the de­lib­er­a­tions high­lighted the need for a more par­tic­i­pa­tive form of pol­icy for­mu­la­tion. Concerned branches of the Army HQ have ac­cord­ingly been di­rected to in­ter­act with wide cross-sec­tion of of­fices, branches, and per­son­nel.

De­fence Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley also ad­dressed the Army Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence and com­ple­mented the senior mil­i­tary hi­er­ar­chy say­ing ‘when­ever the chal­lenges mul­ti­ply or their na­ture changes, In­dian Army has al­ways out­per­formed it­self’. He stated that mod­erni­sa­tion of de­fence equip­ment is the top­most pri­or­ity for the Govern­ment.

(Left) The bi-an­nual Army Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence com­mences; (Right) The Chief of Army Staff with Senior Of­fi­cers at Army Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence

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