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Adding new regiments may affect modernization of weapons
8/14/2018 11:06:20 PM
It is one thing to seek modernization of weapons and it is quite another issue when there is demand for increasing the number of Armed Forces. Under the latest instructions the Armned forces have been told to make optimum use of the existing strength and do not ask for either adding new regiments or increasing the number of companies Senior functioned of the Armed forces have been told to make optimum use of available resources. Seeking additional funds could place the Ministry of Defence in a predicament as it would not have sufficient funds for upgrading its weaponary Hence the directions to senior functionaries of the Armed forces is to make optimum use of available funds, the armed forces have been asked to avoid adding any more numbers to the existing strength - while continuing with right-sizing of the Army, Navy and the Air Force. The matter of force numbers, the resultant man-power costs and redundancy caused due to technological upgrades was raised by a top government official at the two-day Unified Commanders' Conference held in New Delhi on July 30 and July 31. The matter of not increasing numbers was referred to and the rising costs were discussed.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is clear: "Addition of new equipment (modernisation) does not mean a corresponding rise in the strength of men, The foundation of this was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi very early into his tenure. In his address at one such conference in December 2015, Modi said: "Modernisation and expansion of forces at the same time is a difficult and unnecessary goal." Over the last decade, the armed forces have absorbed a fair amount of technological developments, including communications and digitisation, which means some of the troops can be redeployed. The high-powered Defence Planning Council (DPC), at its first meeting in May this year, asked for "leaner, meaner and restructured armed forces ready for future wars enabled by proper use of budgetary allocations". Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had ordered restructuring of the Army on June 12 this year.
The Army, the biggest of the three armed forces, about 1.3-million strong, has been asked to improve its teeth-to-tail ratio. In simple words, it means have more fighting units and reduce non-fighting numbers. Last year, the MoD announced a major change as 57,000 officers and soldiers were to be redeployed to have more combat-oriented roles by 2019. It was an outcome of a committee headed by Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (retd), which suggested 99 points for structural changes in the Army, among them being cutting down flab and reducing revenue (maintenance) expenditure. Of these, the MoD has accepted 65 suggestions. Yes agreed China has the bigger man power than India but Beijing can afford to sustain the world's biggest Armed force personnel. And New Delhi is not in a position to face monetary crisis while sanctioning salaries to Armed forces personnel because part of the budget is to be spend on the modernization of the weapon system with the Armed Forces.
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