Indian Army’s top leadership are deliberating on several issues including operational, administrative, logistics and human resources at the Army Commanders’ Conference which started on October 9 and will continue till October 15, 2018, in New Delhi. The six-day conference presided over by General Bipin Rawat will see the seven Army Commanders and the vice chief of the Indian Army discuss and analyse important studies that have been ordered to meet future operational challenges.
“As part of the conclave, commanders and directorates at Army Headquarters will in a collegiate deliberate on important studies that have been ordered to meet future operational challenges. There are four studies examining operational and optimizational issues of Army and the headquarters as also human resources management aspects. These studies aim to improve the teeth to tail ratio, with the purpose of strengthening the structures within the Army, to make it combat ready for the future,” said a press release by the Ministry of Defence.
The Indian Army has been working on several reforms keeping in view the rapid technological advances in the field of combat. The primary focus of the Army in recent times has been to improve the teeth to tail ratio (number of soldiers ready for combat compared to those who are in the supporting and logistical roles). General Rawat and top commanders have been discussing ways to make the force “leaner and meaner”, which included carrying out an extensive organisational restructuring and downsizing of the force to ensure that the force is ready for future challenges.
“We have got an organisation which helped us fight the previous wars. If we are looking at future wars, they will necessitate imbibing technology, technologies of all kinds. Therefore, we have to reorganise ourselves to ensure that technologies and the weaponry and the man behind the weapon are integrated. But it is more important to imbibe the technology and for doing so, you have to carry out some changes in the organisation and you have to ensure that your men understand the need for technology, only then can you move forward,” General Rawat had told news agency ANI.
As part of the reforms, the Army plans to redeploy nearly 57,000 officers and other ranks as well as ensuring better utilisation of resources to strengthen the teeth to tail ratio. A Committee of Experts (CoE) was constituted by Ministry of Defence under the Chairmanship of Lieutenant General (Retd) DB Shekatkar to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces. The committee submitted its report in December 2016 and the recommendations taken up for implementation include:
1) Optimisation of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
2) Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static / Station Workshops in the field Army.
3) Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
4) Better utilisation of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport Units.
5) Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
6) Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
7) Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.
Currently, there are seven Army Commanders. They are Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, Western Army Commander Lieutenant General Surinder Singh (West), South Western Commander Lieutenant General Cherish Mathson, Southern Army Commander Lieutenant General Satinder Kumar Saini, Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Central Army Commander Lieutenant General Abhay Krishna and Army Training Command headed by Lieutenant General Pattacheruvanda Chengappa Thimayya. Lieutenant General Devraj Anbu is the vice-chief of the 1.2 million strong Indian Army.