Army meeting external, internal threats effectively, says DM

J&K core agenda at Army, IAF Comdrs’ conferences

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Oct 13: Top Army and Indian Air Force (IAF) Commanders separately debated security situation, challenges, operational preparedness and threats from across the borders at their conferences in New Delhi, which were also addressed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and chiefs of the forces. Situation along Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) with Pakistan, Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and internal security dominated the two conferences.
The Conference of Army Commanders was chaired by Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat while that of Air Force Commanders was presided over by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa.
Sources told the Excelsior that top officials of the Defence Ministry also attended the Conference so that they could assess requirements of the Army in meeting both external and internal challenges.
“Situation along LoC and IB in Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan and LAC with China were among the major issues that dominated both the conferences. Preparedness of the troops along frontiers with Pakistan and China including ongoing tensions on LoC with Pakistan, incursions by People’s Liberation Army of China at Eastern Ladakh, Doklam and Uttarakhand sometimes and India’s response to them were debated threadbare,” they said.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her first address to the Army Commanders, lauded swift and effective response of Army in any kind of situation and challenges and called upon the troops to be well prepared for facing the threats ahead. She also hailed the troops in dealing with external and internal threats.
Sitharaman emphasized the need to guard against inimical forces and talked about the need for integration of all the Services in effectively dealing with emerging challenges. She also stressed on the capability enhancement of the Army in a time bound manner.
In his address to the Conference, Chief of Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat asked the commanders to be prepared for all eventualities at all times.
He also emphasized the need to accord priority to procurement of arms, ammunitions and equipment.
While Gen Rawat asserted that there will be no compromise with respect to issues related to welfare of the Army men, Sitharaman said keeping up morale of the armed forces personnel will remain a priority.
According to sources, development of infrastructure along un-demarcated LAC with China including construction of road and rail links, procurement of latest gadgetry and various other strategic issues figured at the Conference of Army Commanders that would last about a week and conclude on Sunday.
While the infrastructure along LoC and IB with Pakistan is almost satisfactory, some operational related issues were reportedly discussed, sources said, adding that ongoing tensions on LoC with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir in which Army and civilians have suffered some casualties and attempts of infiltration, aided and abetted by Pakistan and steps to control them, were discussed and strategy devised.
Army has inflicted heavy losses on Pakistan army, both in terms of casualties and infrastructure in retaliatory action.
“Capability development along borders with Pakistan was one of the major issue of discussions,” sources said, adding that India has completely been dominating both LoC and IB with Pakistan and there has been immense damage on Pakistan side in retaliatory shelling. Moreover, majority of infiltration attempts by the militants on LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, which were aided and abetted by Pakistan, have been foiled.
According to sources, the Defence Ministry officials have assured the Army Commanders that the Government was committed significantly enhance infrastructure along the nearly 4,000 km-long Sino- India border including around the areas of dispute.
The decision was taken in the wake of Dokalam face off with China, which lasted nearly three months at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan and ended with simultaneous withdrawal of troops by both the countries.
“It was decided in the Conference of Army Commanders that there would be considerable “heft” towards road construction activities in the Northern sector, sources said.
They said the Commanders also examined organizational changes of some of the formations to enhance existing capability, indicating that the Army leadership was looking at bolstering its current operational preparedness to meet any contingencies.
On boosting infrastructure, sources said “four passes to Niti, Lipulekh, Thangla 1 and Tsangchokla have been decided to be connected by 2020 on priority.”
It was decided that additional funds will be allotted to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), a defence ministry entity, to carry out infrastructure projects.
A roadmap for intra sector connectivity within Central sector and inter-sector connectivity with neighbouring areas have been discussed.
“The issues that were highlighted or discussed during the conference related to infrastructure and capability development along the borders,” sources said.
The Army Commanders also deliberated on the cadre review of Junior Commissioned Officers and other ranks (OR), which now stands approved, and implementation of the Shekatkar committee recommendation on carrying out reforms in the force.
The issue of employment of women officers in areas of specialization that require continuity also figured.
Implementation of cadre review of JCOs and OR resulting in 1.45.5137 additional promotional vacancies will be the top priority of the Army.
In the next two days, the Commanders will discuss a number of issues relating to human resources which include promotion of eligible officers to the rank of Lieutenant General.
The Army has decided to modernize all military stations on par with the Government’s smart city project and initially, 58 stations have been identified for the project. The army has over 2,000 military stations across the country.
During interactions with top officials of the Defence Ministry, the Commanders discussed a host of issues like expediting acquisition projects, providing liberallsed family pension to those other than battle causalities and matters relating to defence land.
Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra stressed on the need for a time bound action plan to resolve the issues.
He said the Conference decided to seek necessary sanction from the Government to allow the Army to carry out procurement under the existing system till March 31, 2018 when the Government e-Market system is likely to stabilize.
Sources said there will be reorientation of administrative command structure looking after security in key areas along the Sino-India border. However, they didn’t elaborate about specific plans.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here