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Exclusive Interview with Army Chief Gen V K Singh

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Army Chief - Defence and Security AlertGeneral V K Singh COAS in conversation with Maj Gen (Dr) G D Bakshi, Executive Editor, Defence and Security Alert at New Delhi.


DSA: Prior to becoming Chief you had carried out a study on the Transformation of the Army. What were the salient recommendations and how much have we been able to implement them?

 

Army Chief: The aim of the ‘Transformation Process’, is to transform the Indian Army into an agile, lethal, versatile and networked force, that is prepared for the emerging security environment and challenges of the 21st century.

The overall focus is to develop our military capabilities, that can take care of the envisaged threats and challenges, which may manifest in the foreseeable future. The process entails optimisation of our operational preparedness and functional capabilities, through upgradation of our concepts and technologies as also reorganisation and restructuring of our formations. The process will be suitably complemented by fielding theatrised combat as well as logistic support systems. Tri-Service integration, synergy and jointness amongst the three Services, is also an important operational imperative which is being addressed by the study. Essentially, the recommendations entail a review of our capability, reorganising force structures, to achieve great synergy and operational value; networked environment, to ensure better decision making and restructuring headquarters for better efficiency.

The intended transformation also seeks to mould military values, traditions and mindsets, besides, bringing about a professional, ethical and transparent functional attitude to reinforce our high ethical standards.

The transformation, which is a time consuming and complex process, was set into motion, in May 2010. Significant envisaged changes are being validated through established procedures, such as ‘test bedding’ during our field exercises.

DSA: How prepared are we to take on our external threats and challenges? What is being done to speed up our acquisitions – especially, where the need to re-capitalise our equipment stock has become urgent and pressing?

Army Chief: Modernisation is a dynamic process and the last decade, has been a major challenge, with slippages being a cause of concern. Notwithstanding, we have made a concerted effort in this field and are progressively increasing our capability, through force enhancement, accretions, modernisation, upgradation of technology, besides improvement of infrastructure. The basic philosophy is to possess an equipment profile, consisting of 30 per cent modern state-of-the-art equipment, 40 per cent current technology and 30 per cent equipment that is reaching obsolescence.

Modernisation plans, in consonance with the Defence Capability Development Strategy, encompass force modernisation and the development of critical combat capabilities, besides, overcoming obsolescence in core capabilities. Our thrust areas primarily include battlefield transparency, night fighting capability, enhanced firepower, integrated manoeuvre capability and network centricity.

DSA: China’s infrastructure and capabilities in Tibet have undergone a quantum jump. Media reports indicate a 34 Div level threat in just one season. How prepared are we to deal with any such eventuality on our Himalayan borders?

Army Chief: Strategic and operational analysis of emerging security threats to our country is an ongoing dynamic process. Own defence strategy and doctrines, are being constantly refined, in view of the changing security paradigm, in our immediate and extended neighbourhood and the world at large. Measures for strengthening and optimising our border management are in place, adequately addressing our security concerns.

Our government has taken adequate steps, for large scale infrastructure development in our border areas, to meet the security requirements, as also improving the connectivity, to facilitate overall development of the border areas. Military capacity enhancement and modernisation are concurrently being undertaken by the government in a holistic manner to give a boost to our operational preparedness. We are working hard, to ensure that threats to our nation can be taken care of.

DSA: How prepared are we today for a two front threat from China and Pakistan, with the additional Internal Security threat posed by Jihadi Tanzeems and Maoist insurgents in our rear?

Army Chief: Indian Army is structured, to respond swiftly and effectively, to the entire spectrum of security challenges, across all frontiers, including sub-conventional and Internal Security threats. However, ‘Threat Assessment’ and ‘Capability Development’ are dynamic and ongoing processes which are subject to periodic reviews. Steps as deemed imperative are being continuously initiated and implemented, for strengthening and optimising our force structure, to cater for the emerging challenges. The type of threat envisaged by you would need all the resources of the nation under a single entity, to ensure them being addressed optimally.

 

To read full Interview, please readmore.


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