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Animals used by the Army

Retired army dogs, horses and mules to get new lease of life

Daily Excelsior , Retired army dogs , horses and mules to get new lease of life "Daily Excelsior" 2/11/2015

In what could be a new lease of life for Indian Army dogs, horses and mules which are routinely put to sleep after their retirement, the force is building special facilities to house them and are in talks with NGOs for giving them up for adoption.

However, not many NGOs in the country have the facility to take care of about 1000 horses and mules that retire every year.

“Every year about 50 dogs and about 1000 horses and mules retire. The Army is building special facilities in different places in the country to house them after their retirement,” defence sources said.

They said that while dogs can easily be taken up by people through adoption, keeping horses and mules is a big problem.

“Maintaining cost for horses are high. Not to forget the space and infrastructure that would be needed,” sources said.

The government had in September informed the Delhi High Court that it would come out with a policy on the issue within six months.

The practice of euthanasia will be stopped under this policy, which will also give details of the arrangements to be made for these animals after they retire, the High Court was told.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain said the policy was being formulated and the issues raised in a writ petition, which sought an end to the practice,were under active consideration.

Though a final policy is yet to be adopted, the Army has ceased further killing of ageing animals, except for those suffering incurable, terminal diseases and injuries.

The army has also been asked by the Defence Ministry to deal with the cases of animals suffering from incurable diseases, injuries and terminal diseases as per the provisions of Section 13 (3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

The development came in the backdrop of the court’s direction to seek instruction in the matter relating to killing the dogs which have served national security by sniffing bombs, hunting down enemies, locating secret places and fetching evidence.

The Army generally uses Labradors, German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherds, depending on the altitude and weather, besides the nature of assignment which may include routine patrol to explosives detection.

The court had earlier observed that the respondents had admitted that the current practice of putting Army service dogs to sleep was against the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. (PTI)


Rachna Bisht Rawat, April 25, 2023: The Times of India

An elegant white Safari comes to a stop outside the 7 Kumaon battalion location in the midst of a thicket of Sal trees, momentarily interrupting the noisy chatter of the forest birds overhead. The driver, a young uniformed Kumaoni soldier, leaps out to open the passenger door and Col Yazad Ilavia, Commanding Officer, steps out in his crisply ironed combat uniform, boots brushed to a sheen. He walks across to where a beautiful white long-haired mountain goat waits for him along with the unit Subedar Major and Adjutant. Formally attired in a short woolen cape in green and yellow, the Kumaon colours, embroidered with the regimental crest in gold thread, Havildar SATVIR, has been receiving the Commanding Officers of 7 Kumao n every morning for nearly 60 years. 

ColIlavia steps forward, shakes hands with Hav SATVIR, and offers him a snack of two crisp biscuits that SATVIR munches on contentedly, while the Commanding Officer moves on to greet the Subedar Major of the unit and walks across to his office followed by his staff officers. This handsome mountain goat is their regiment al mascot, who participates in all ceremonial functions, receives the Commanding Officer every morning with a salute and a handshake and accompanies the unit and all its moves across the country, taking the special military train with the soldiers and officers.

The story goes that in the year 1963, a LongRange Patrol (LRP) of the unit was followed by a white mountain go at all the way back to the unit location. He was adopted by the unit and named SATVIR, an acronym for S – name of the unit Seven Kumaon, A – Battalion motto: All the way to battle, T – name of then Commanding Officer Col Thamboo, V – name of the 2IC Viswanathan, I – name of the senior most Coy Commander Ishwar Singh Dahiya, R – name of then Subedar Major Rawat.

While the name was meticulously picked up by a specially appointed team of officers, the formal christening was carried out on the third raising day of the unit on September 1, 1 965. SATVIR was conferred the rank of Lance Naik. Since then, he has been receiving his promotions like all other serving soldiers. He was promoted to the rank of Naik in 1968 and subse quently to Havildar in 1971. For the Kumaoni troops, Satvir is the real GOAT (greatest of all time as they say in sporting terminology) and their affection for him has only grown over the years. Previously called the Magnificent Seven, the battalion proudly renamed itself the SATVIR Battalion. SATVIR starts his day by going for a run with the troops on Physical Training (PT) Parade and ends it with attending the games parade in the evening. He has been excused from wearing his uniform during these parades. However, on all formal occasions Hav SATVIR shows up in his ceremonial cape which he also dons when greeting VIPs visiting the unit.

These Himalayan goats are brought from the higher ranges of the Indo-Tibet border of the Kumaon hills when they are still young. The present Hav SATVIR is the sixth in lineage. All SATVIRs have an understudy who is picked from the hills of Kumaon. He takes over when the senior Hav SATVIR abd icates and retires, usually around the age of ten years. On demise, he is accorded a military funeral and buried after a three-gun salute.

Col Ilavia, who is a second-generation officer (his father also commanded 7 Kumaon), says he has very fond memories of playing with SATVIR as a child. Since the grand old unit has many second-generation soldiers, including the serving Subedar Major, most of them have grown up with memories of SATVIR and have an emotional connection with the hardy mountain goat who they consider part of their family and vice versa. According to Brig D Thamboo AVSM (Retd), “SATVIRS come and go but the tradition has lived on and as long as 7 Kumaon remains, so will SATVIR. ”


Supersession in appointments

Dinakar Peri, Seniority avoided in appointments, January 18, 2017: The Hindu

Please see:

Chiefs Of Army Staff: India

Seniority done away with in another Army appointment

After setting aside the guiding principle of ‘seniority-cum-merit’ in the appointment of General Bipin Rawat as the Chief of Army Staff, in appointing the Engineer-in-Chief, who heads the Military Engineer Services and the Corps of Engineers, the government has superseded the seniormost officer Lt. Gen. Vishwambhar Singh, Director General Weapons & Equipment. Instead, it has appointed Lt. Gen. Suresh Sharma, who was Director General-Border Roads.

The move comes after the government, in a surprise move, superseded Eastern Army Commander Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi in the appointment of the 27th Army Chief, which had caused considerable concern in the service.

The present Engineer-in-Chief, Lt. Gen. Sanjiv Talwar, is set to retire by the end of the month, and the designate Lt. Gen. Sharma is supposed to take charge on February 1. The appointment has been cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister.

The Engineer-in-Chief is an advisor to all three service chiefs. “Generally, the appointments are by done on the principle of ‘seniority-cum-merit’. Technically, Lt. Gen. Singh is senior, but it was the government’s call,” a source said.

An engineering officer pointed out that it has been the tradition to appoint the seniormost officer to be the Engineer-in-Chief. “At least in my memory, the seniority has not been scuttled. This was very surprising,” he said.

As per procedure, the Army Headquarters forwards a list of eligible officers to the Defence Ministry. The Defence Minister then puts down his recommendations and sends the file to the ACC, which makes the final selection.

Of the two officers, Lt. Gen. Singh is from the architects cadre, while Lt. Gen. Sharma is from the engineers cadre. “We were told that they preferred someone from the engineering stream at the top post,” a civilian officer in the Corps of Engineers said. Speaking last week, Gen. Rawat said that the issue of choosing Army Commanders through a selection board rather than by seniority alone would be debated. “I believe in a system of consensus. This is an issue which has not been addressed earlier but we will certainly take up with the Army Commanders to see how they feel,” he had said.

Border management policy/ rules

LAC: forces get ‘full freedom’ to respond/ 2020

June 22, 2020: The Times of India

The armed forces have been given “full freedom” to respond in an “adequate and proportionate manner” to any hostile act in accordance with their judgment, officials said after defence minister Rajnath Singh reviewed operational readiness along the Line of Actual Control LAC) with the military brass here.

India is determined to impose costs on Chinese troops if they attempt any further misadventure on the border, the officials said.

The decisive shift away from the long-standing border management policy to largely maintain “peace and tranquillity” on the LAC gives the military commanders on the ground the leeway to undertake whatever action is required to foil any misadventure by the PLA.

“This obviously includes freedom to the commanders to order troops to open fire in the face of extreme provocation and extraordinary situations like the one near PP-14 on June 15,” the official said.

TOI in its edition of June 18 had front-paged a report saying a decisive shift was underway in both strategy and protocol, that the Army would no longer allow “walk-in” intrusions along the LAC, and that the understanding on use of firearms was being reviewed. Sources said diplomatic talks are likely to be held with China in a bid to break the military stalemate on the ground.

‘Don’t start fights, but don’t hold back in case of intrusion’

They (Army personnel) have been told not to start a fight, but also not to hold back in the event of any ground intrusion or breach of airspace. The Army, Navy and IAF reported satisfactory levels of preparedness and high operational alertness along the LAC,” an official said. The hour-long meeting chaired by Singh, who is slated to leave for Moscow on Monday, was attended by chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat and the three Service chiefs, General M M Naravane, Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.

A second meeting between 14 Corps commander Lt-General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin is also on the cards, on the lines of the one they held at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting point in eastern Ladakh on June 6. This week, MEA joint secretary in charge of China, Naveen Srivastava, will hold a second virtual conference with his counterpart in Beijing to bring about a diplomatic resolution to the crisis. This will be the second conversation between Srivastava and Wu Jianghao, director general in the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs after June 5.

With both India and China having amassed troops and heavy weapons all along the 3,488-km LAC, and no signs of any de-escalation in the troop confrontations in eastern Ladakh, “a high-level politico-diplomatic intervention may be required due to the continuing deadlock”, another official said.

TOI was the first to report on June 18 that the skirmish near ‘Patrolling Point-14 (PP-14)’ in the Galwan Valley region of eastern Ladakh, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead and 76 injured on June 15, had led India to decide that “costs” would now be imposed on the PLA if it tries with its old tactics of incrementally grabbing territory.

Doctrine, Military

Ancient Indian texts

Rajat Pandit, Sep 30, 2023: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The 12-lakh strong Army is now going back in time to reclaim “India’s age-old wisdom in statecraft, strategy, diplomacy and warfare” to prepare for the battles of the future.

The force has now launched “Project Udbhav”, a “pioneering initiative to rediscover the profound Indic heritage of statecraft and strategic thoughts derived from ancient Indian texts”, an Army spokesperson said.

The Army Training Command (ARTRAC) in collaboration with the United Service Institution of India (USI) held the first hybrid seminar under the project, which was titled: “Evolution of Indian military systems, war-fighting and strategic thought – current research in the field and way forward”.

Some veterans were quick to jump into the fray. “In `this is not an era of war’, one has to genuinely wonder where such deep & ancient concepts of Indian strategy fit in within the overall scheme of modern day and future conflict? ARTRAC ought not to lose sight of the possible methods of waging modern war in archaic rumination,” posted Major General Birender Dhanoa (retired) on `X’. The Army, however, was sanguine about Project Udbhav, which it said seeks to bridge the historical and the contemporary by endeavouring to explore India’s rich historical narratives in the realms of statecraft and strategic thoughts. The government, incidentally, has directed the armed forces to shed “vestiges of the colonial era”, as reported by TOI earlier.

“The project focuses on a broad spectrum, including Indigenous military systems, historical texts, regional texts and kingdoms, thematic studies, and intricate Kautilya studies,” an official Army statement said.

The goal is to understand the “profound depths of indigenous military systems, their evolution, strategies that have been passed down through the ages, and the strategic thought processes that have governed the land for millennia”, it added.

The project is not limited to just rediscovering these narratives, but also seeks to develop an indigenous strategic vocabulary, which is deeply rooted in India’s multifaceted philosophical and cultural tapestry. “The overall aim is to integrate age-old wisdom with modern military pedagogy,” the Army said.

Since 2021, under the aegis of the Indian Army, a project has also been underway to compile Indian stratagems based on ancient texts. A book, which lists 75 aphorisms selected from ancient texts, is already out.

The scope of the discussion on Friday, attended by scholars, serving officers and veterans, included the study of ancient texts from the 4th century BC to the 8th century BC, with a special focus on Kautilya, Kamandaka, and The Kural.

Chaired by principal adviser in the defence ministry Lt-General Vinod G Khandare (retired), the keynote address at the session was delivered by the Army’s director-general strategic planning, Lt-General Raju Baijal.

A series of engagements are planned under Project Udbhav, which will include the Indian Military Heritage Festival on October 21-22. “By reintroducing these classical teachings into the contemporary military and strategic domains, the Army aims to nurture officers in applying ancient wisdom in modern scenarios and also allow a more profound understanding of international relations and foreign cultures,” the spokesperson said.


Parvat Prahar


Sep 10, 2022: The Hindu

Army chief General Manoj Pande visited the Ladakh sector on Saturday to review Exercise Parvat Prahar and was briefed on operational preparedness by Commanders on ground. The exercise saw the deployment of all new major inductions of the Army.

The exercise used newly inducted all-terrain vehicles transported by Chinook heavy lift helicopters and K9-Vajra howitzers, among others.

The exercise comes as India and China are undertaking disengagement from Patrolling Point-15 in eastern Ladakh, as announced on September 8.

Simultaneously on the western front, Exercise Gagan Strike culminated with a fire power display of attack helicopters supporting deep operations by Strike Corps. Western Army Commander Lt. Gen. Nav K. Khanduri, who witnessed the culmination, appreciated the professional readiness of combat forces for contingencies on the western front, the Western Command said on Twitter.


Non-gallantry medals can take 10 years to arrive

Medals sold in private shops, some details

Sushil Rao , Non-Gallantry Medals Take As Long As 10 Yrs To Come, Jan 25, 2017: The Times of India

Army personnel, both retired and serving, awarded for their service are forced to buy replicas of the medals from private shops as the Army takes several years to deliver the originals.

The replicas, which are called `tailor copies', can be bought for as low as Rs 40 to Rs 180 from private outlets at Lal Bazar, Regimental Bazar, Mehdipatnam and Golconda in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Defence ministry sources in Delhi confirmed that the backlog of non-gallantry medals runs as far back as 10 years.

A TOI investigation has revealed that one would have to shell out as less as Rs 2,500 for a complete uniform with all the medals, complete with the badges.Except for the gallantry awards, a `tailor copy' of practically every medal is up for sale.However, gallantry medals, which have the name and Army number of the recipient engraved on them, cannot be bought from a private shop.

“Yes, I bought nine out of 10 medals from private shops,“ admits Mohammed Rafee, who put in 24 years of service in the Army . Rafee was awarded 10 medals but was given only one by the Army . He joined the Army as a sepoy when he was 17 and a half years old. He rose through the ranks by virtue of the number of years that he put in and finally retired as havildar.

“I should have got my medals at the time they were to be given to me,“ Rafee says.Among the medals that he was awarded were the ones for nine years of service, 20 years of service, serving in Jammu and Kashmir, and for serving at high altitude and other places.

Former Army personnel say lack of coordination among various wings of the Army is the reason why medals are not reaching recipients on time. “The Army Postal Services should deliver the medal to the personnel wherever they are. One problem could be tracing a person if he has been transferred,“ Rafee says.

The market for medals also poses a grave security threat, with the tailor copies available for sale to any willing buyer. This reporter was able to buy several `tailor copies' not produced by the government mint. The shops also sell badges that are to be pinned to the Army uniform.

This reporter could even buy the replica of a medal given for participating in the Kargil war, codenamed Operation Vijay; the Samanya Seva med al, for designated operations; and the Uchh Tungta medal, for serving at high altitude. All the three medals came with the appropriate ribbons.

Motorised Transport

Heritage Park at Bengaluru/ 2016

The Hindu, December 6, 2016

An exhibit at the Army’s first Motorised Transport Heritage Park in Bengaluru. ; Picture courtesy: The Hindu, December 6, 2016

The Indian Army is on the hunt, and this is no ordinary ‘mission’. It is tracking down decommissioned vehicles that it had once used through its vibrant history. The aim is to curate jeeps, trucks, among other vehicles, at the Army’s first Motorised Transport (MT) Heritage Park, which was inaugurated in Bengaluru.

The park, a first of its kind resting place for the Army’s most popular transport vehicles, is an endeavour of the officers of the Faculty of Transport Management, located at the Army Service Corps (ASC) Centre and College, Old Airport Road. The first five vehicles to be displayed at the park were put together painstakingly from 2015 in New Delhi before being transported by road to Bengaluru.

“This is a memorial for the silent transporters of the Indian Army. The idea is based on a similar museum in England. We are trying to get models of all old vehicles used in the Army, but it’s tough as many have been auctioned or scrapped. In the future, the park will also include models of all vehicles which the Army will stop using, like the Ambassador which is slated to be stopped five to six years from now,” said Lieutenant General S.P.S. Katewa, AVSM, Commandant ASC Centre and College.

At present, the park includes a Jeep Willys 4X4, a 3-tonne Shaktiman truck, a Nissan Patrol (JONGA), a Tata-Mercedes Benz (TMB) truck, and a 1-tonne Vahan truck.

Memorial for animals

The ASC Centre also hosts a memorial for pack mules and other animals that the Supply Corps uses extensively. “There was talk during the Kargil War of wanting to cut down on the use of animal transport, but with hard-to-reach front lines in the eastern borders with China, we still continue to use these animals for transport. We are the only corps to use pack mules and we wanted to raise a memorial for these animals as well,” a senior ASC officer said.

The public have to apply for prior permission to view the memorials. “We bring children from schools and colleges here as part of the ‘Know your Army’ programmes. We can permit the public on special days, with proper security arrangements,” Lt. Gen. Katewa said.

Mountain strike corps

17 Corps

The raising of the corps

The Times of India, May 04 2016

Use of war reserves for new corps suicidal

Rajat Pandit

A parliamentary panel has sounded the alarm at the way the Army is being forced to cannibalise its existing reserves to raise the new mountain strike corps needed to acquire effective conventional deterrence against China.

“Milking existing resources, which in some cases are not fully up to authorisation, is suicidal,“ said the parliamentary standing committee on defence in its latest report, tabled on Tuesday .

The committee asked the defence ministry to “critically examine“ the issue and report back within two months.“The committee feels raising of the mountain strike corps is in the interest of national security and recommends that necessary funds for infrastructure development are released for it,“ it said.

In a series of reports, TOI has earlier highlighted how the 1.18-million strong Army was struggling to raise the new mountain strike corps, the 17 Corps, by dipping into its critical war wastage reserves (WWR) in the absence of dedicated funding. This becomes all the more alarming since the Army cannot fight a war beyond 15 days because of crippling shortages in its ammunition stocks, especially for tanks, air defence weapons and anti-tank guided missiles.This, when the approved norm is to hold ammunition for 40 days of “intense“ fighting under the WWR since it can prove critical in winning wars.

“It will not be possible for the Army to reach 100% WWR even by 2019-2020. Moreover, operational deficiencies continue in howitzers, helicopters, air defence weapons, night-fighting capabilities and the like,“ said an official.

The raising of the 17 Corps, with 90,274 additional soldiers, was approved by the UPA-II regime in July 2013 at a cost of Rs 64,678 crore spread over eight years till 2020-2021. But defence minister Manohar Parrikar has repeatedly attacked UPA for sanctioning the 17 Corps in an “arbitrary manner“ without any financial allocation or proper planning. The proposal for another Rs 26,155 crore for infrastructure and capability development along the northern borders is yet to be even approved.

Parrikar has also reiterated that the Army needs to cut down its non-operational flab and manpower in the face of escalating wage and pension bills. Even as a high-level committee is now being set up to look into this, the Army says there is very little scope for manpower cuts till it inducts “cutting-edge technology , platforms and systems“ to offset “boots on the ground“ along the two long unresolved borders with China and Pakistan.

2020: Deputy Chief (Strategy); RR HQ

Rajat Pandit, January 14, 2020: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The 1.3 million-strong Army has cleared the decks for creation of the new crucial post of deputy chief (strategy), as part of the overall restructuring and flattening of the Army headquarters, by shifting the entire Rashtriya Rifles (RR) directorate from New Delhi to the Northern Command in Kashmir.

The need for the new post of Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Strategy) or DCOAS (S) was acutely felt during the 73-day troop confrontation between India and China at Doklam near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in June-August 2017, which saw the two rival armies move additional infantry battalions, tanks, artillery and missile units towards the border.

The DCOAS (S) will have the directors-general of military operations (DGMO), military intelligence (DGMI), operational logistics (DGOL), perspective planning (DGPP) and information warfare (DGIW) under him at the Army HQs. “As of now, an ad hoc committee is constituted to handle operations, plans, logistics etc during a crisis like Doklam. There is no unity in structure and chain of command among different verticals. In the future, the five DGs will jointly brief the DCOAS (S) during any major crisis,” said a top official.

The Union Cabinet is likely to soon approve the plan to restructure the Army HQs, which is largely “revenue-neutral” and does not include any new additional post of a Lt General. “The DCOAS (S) post will be created in lieu of the DGRR post. The overall aim is to remove duplication, cut non-operational flab and provide single-point advice to the Army chief. It will bring integration within the Army, and then with the Navy and IAF,” he added.

As was earlier reported by TOI, this Army HQs’ restructuring will lead to the shifting out of over 100 officers to operational field formations. In another significant change, the existing post of DCOAS (planning and systems) will transform into the DCOAS (capability development and sustenance), with all capital and revenue procurements under him. “Ammunition procurements, for instance, were being handled by different capital and revenue verticals during the Doklam crisis,” said another officer.

Similarly, the DCOAS (information systems and training) will change to DCOAS (information systems and coordination). The post of DGMT (military training), in turn, will be subsumed under the Army Training Command, whose HQs will be shifted to Meerut from Shimla. The RR directorate at the Udhampur-based Northern Command will now be headed by a Major General or ADG. First raised as a small force in 1990 to handle specialised counter-insurgency operations in J&K, the RR now has 63 battalions (almost 70,000 soldiers) divided into five division-like headquarters commanded by Major Generals.

They are Delta Force (Doda district), Kilo Force (Kupwara and Baramulla), Romeo Force (Rajouri and Poonch), Victor Force (Anantnag, Pulwama and Budgam) and Uniform Force (Udhampur and Reasi). “If the RR is deployed only in J&K, there is no need to have a DGRR in New Delhi,” said another officer.

Officers, shortage of


Rajat Pandit, July 26, 2023: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The around 13 lakh strong armed forces have a shortage of as many as 9,712 officers and over one lakh soldiers, airmen and sailors, as per the latest figures tabled in Parliament.

The Army has a shortage of 7,912 officers and 90,640 soldiers, while the figures for the Navy are 1,190 officers and 11,927 sailors. The IAF, in turn, has a shortage of 610 officers and 7,104 airmen, said junior defence minister Ajay Bhatt, in a written answer in Rajya Sabha.

“The government has taken a number of measures to reduce the shortages. These include sustained image projection, participation in career fairs and exhibitions, and publicity campaigns to create awareness among the youth on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career,” he said.

“Further, the government has taken various steps to make jobs in the armed forces attractive, including improvement in promotion prospects, and to fill up vacancies,” he added.

But, as earlier reported by TOI, almost the entire shortage of officers is alarmingly in the “fighting ranks” of the three Services. In the Army, for instance, these ranks are Lt-Colonel, Major, Captain and Lieutenant, who actually lead troops into battle.

Though the salaries of military officers have substantially gone up after the 6th and 7th Central Pay Commissions, youngsters still find them poor compared to the corporate sector, especially for a life which is considered tough and risky.

Poor promotional avenues in the steeply-pyramidal structures of the armed forces as well as frequent transfers that disrupt family life and children's education are the other reasons that dissuade youngsters with “officer-like qualities (OLQs)” from queuing up. Lack of adequate officer training capacity in the armed forces is, of course, another factor.

The government is also yet to approve the long-pending package to make short-service commission (SSC) more attractive for bright youngsters, with measures ranging from grant of paid study leave to a golden handshake at the end of their tenures of 10 to 14 years, despite the continuing shortage of officers and the urgent need for cadre restructuring.

Reforms, structural

2019: Govt approves first set

March 8, 2019: The Times of India

The defence ministry has approved the first batch of reforms in the Army to ‘flatten’ its headquarters in New Delhi, which includes relocation of 229 officers to operational posts, creation of a new post of deputy chief for military operations and strategic planning, and setting up new wings for vigilance and human rights issues under major-generals.

But the larger reforms to transform the over 12.5 lakh strong organisation into a lean, mean, rapidly-deployable and operationally versatile force, which will among other things entail slashing manpower by around 1.5 lakh personnel over the next six-seven years to save around Rs 6,000-7,000 crore annually in revenue expenditure, will have to be approved by the next government after it comes to office.

As was first reported by TOI last year, the Army had conducted four studies on force reorganisation and optimisation, flattening headquarters at different levels, cadre review and terms of engagement for officers and jawans, which are to be implemented after approvals from this year onwards.

Officials said defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently approved the first set of reforms, which will include 20% of the officers in the Army headquarters being re-deployed to operational locations. The post of deputy chief of the Army Staff (Strategy), in turn, is being created to deal with military operations, military intelligence, strategic planning and logistics.

The creation of a new information warfare wing is being done in keeping the needs of the future battlefield, hybrid warfare and social media reality in mind. The government has also approved merging of the separate verticals of the DCOAS (planning and strategy) and the Master General Ordnance into one office of the DCOAS (Capability Development and Sustenance).

Snow-related casualties

2010-17: See graphic.

Snow-related casualities, 2010-17; The Times of India, Jan 27, 2017


Tenures of division, corps commanders

18-mth residual service now needed to be command chief, December 28, 2017: The Times of India

In a major policy change, the Army headquarters has reduced the residual service required for Lt-Generals to be promoted as chiefs of its six operational and one training commands from 24 months to 18 months before superannuation.

Officers say the new policy is part of the overall move to “bring stability” in the command tenures of the seven commands (headed by senior Lt-Generals), 14 corps (Lt-Generals) and over 45 divisions (Major-Generals) in the over 12-lakh strong Army. “Tenures of division and corps commanders are only about 12 months as of now…the aim is to increase the tenures to 18 months,” said an officer.

As per the earlier policy, a Lt-General after commanding a corps could be promoted as an “Army Commander (GOC-in-C)”, depending on seniority, only if he was less than 58 years of age at the time of his appointment.

Under the new policy issued on December 23, Lt-Generals with 18 months of residual service will also now be in the reckoning for what is the second-highest rank (the vicechief and seven Army Commanders) in the force. While all Lt-Generals retire at the age of 60, the Army chief serves till 62 or for three years, whichever is earlier.

One of the first beneficiaries of the new policy is likely to be Lt-General Ranbir Singh, who was the directorgeneral of military operations during the “surgical strikes” conducted against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on September 29 last year, and is now commanding the 1Corps at Mathura.

A committee had earlier recommended a review of the policy of appointing Army Commanders and corps commanders on the basis of their residual service which depends more upon the “fortuitous condition” of their dates of birth rather than merit and capability. Incidentally, the residual service prescribed for the equivalent GOC-in-C rank is just one year in the Navy and IAF.

Terrorist attacks

Defensive arsenal

Sandeep Unnithan , Shields up “India Today” 17/10/2016

India Today , October 17,2016

Campose panel

[ pathankot/1/781368.html Sandeep Unnithan , Shields up “India Today” 17/10/2016]

See graphic

Recommendations by Campose panel , India Today , October 17,2016

Pakistan sponsored

Sandeep Unnithan , Shields up , “India Today” 17/10/2016

India Today , Oct.3,2016

See graphic

India Today , Oct.3,2016


Regiment specific insignia stopped: 2023

August 2, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi : Army brigadiers and generals shed all their distinctive regiment-specific accoutrements, lanyards and headgear, like Gorkha hats or maroon berets, with their dark olivegreen uniforms. Instead, they donned standardised accoutrements, irrespective of their parent cadres, regiments orappointments.

The Army headquarters had directed this “uniformity in uniform”, without any display of regimental affiliations, to promote and strengthen a common identity and approach in service matters among senior officers from August 1 onwards, as was reported byTOIin early-May.

Consequently, the Army chief, around 80 Lt-generals, 300 major generals and 1,200 brigadiers on Tuesday wore the same dark olive-green berets (or black peak caps), ano dised brass rank badges, scarlet gorget patches, black leather belts with the Indian Army logo instead of their regimental ones and the like with their uniforms. They also discarded their lanyards, different colours of which are worn by different regiments.

There, however, is no change in the uniforms of junior officers from lieutenants to colonels, who will continue to wear their different types of accoutrements .

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