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‘Jointmanship Between the Three Services and Inter-Agency Coordination will be Critical to Achieve Success Both Against External Threats as well as Internal Security Challenges’
Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC

Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh What are your Key Result Areas?
Maintaining high levels of operational preparedness in the current security scenario remains my top priority. One of my key focus areas will be capability enhancement to meet contemporary and future challenges. This will, undoubtedly, involve force modernisation, infrastructure development and realistic training. And finally, improving the quality of life and living conditions of our soldiers, who remain our most valuable asset, is another one of my major thrust areas.

Are there any critical acquisitions where the army would like to ask the government to adopt the ‘Buy and Make’ rather than the ‘Make in India’ route?
Yes, a case of procurement of Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARVs) is under progress. The previous procurement in that category has been of foreign origin vehicles with a provision of ‘Transfer of Technology’ to an Indian PSU i.e BEML. Presently, we are proposing ‘Buy and Make’ for the procurement of ARVs, given the limited availability of OEMs within the country.

The 12th Plan has been approved ‘in principle’ by the government. The acquisitions of the 11th Plan are, however, still underway. Will this slow down procurements in the current Plan?
To address the envisaged current and future security needs, Indian Army engages in capability development in a prioritised manner based on Long Term Perspective Plan spread over a period of 15 years. Further prioritisation is based on a five year plan approved by the Defence Acquisition Council and Annual Acquisition Plan spread over a two-year period.

The five year defence plans are made to identify areas which need attention, bridge the gaps between existing capabilities and what is required and to arrive at a realistic and implementable allocation of resources.

The 11th Plan was focused on developing capabilities to attain military objectives across the entire spectrum of conflict against a nuclear backdrop. The Plan succeeded in making a beginning towards addressing our priority areas.

On the on-going 12th Plan (2012-17), the Indian Army’s modernisation plan includes induction of high technology weapons, acquisition of force multipliers and focusing on the creation of a lethal, agile and networked force prepared to meet the complex security challenges. The overall equipment profile is a mix of modern, current and equipment approaching obsolescence.

The army’s modernisation is an on-going process based on long term planning and has been largely progressing as planned. Delays are primarily attributable to procedural issues. Numerous measures have been initiated at the macro as well as micro level to streamline capital procurement procedures to ensure that the capability building of the army is progressed as per laid down priorities and timelines. While doing so, guidelines given in DPP 2013 are being scrupulously followed and integrity of procurement procedure maintained.

Do you see the need for a Field Force Review to rationalise manpower? Do we need to downsize our forces?
The capability of an army is an amalgam of equipment and manpower, both of which are required in parallel for capability enhancement. The numbers required for the capability depend upon dynamics of threat assessment as well as financial prudence. To that end, IA periodically carries out realistic threat assessment and formulates the capabilities required for undertaking its mandated charter.

All modern armies across the globe right-size themselves to meet their unique military threats. So have we, albeit in a nuanced manner. Firstly, for example, despite on-going force accretions, in relative numbers, our northern adversary is still larger. Secondly, what is relatively less known is that various niche development capabilities in the IA (aviation and network enablement for example) are being created through internal savings by reviewing the existing force structures. Thirdly, given the state of unsettled/ disputed borders as also CI/ CT challenges, boots on the ground in the Indian context, remain critical. This is a reality that cannot be wished away. Notwithstanding these, IA periodically conducts such reviews to rationalise manpower and restructure/ right-size the existing force in synchronisation with current and envisaged threat perspective.

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