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AIR spotlight summary on “Overall Preparedness of Army”.

 

 


AIR spotlight summary on “Overall Preparedness of Army”.


Modernisation of the Armed forces

  • The Country celebrated 69th Army day on 15th January 2017. There are many challenges faced by the army of which modernisation of the armed forces is one such challenge. Modernisation of the Armed forces is lacking behind. After the attack on Uri, the Finance Minister said the government will increase the budget allocation for the armed forces. Modernisation comes in two parts. One is modernising and upgrading existing equipments and the other is buying new equipments.
  • Unfortunately because of paucity of funds the element of new equipments does not take place. In the procurement budget for new equipments i.e the capital expenditure, 80% of it is used for previous purchases or previous contract. So it is difficult to procure new equipments. Unless there is a substantive increase in the procurement budget, modernisation will not come in to the extent that is desired.
  • To catch with the modernisation of equipments there should be both indigenisation and procurement from foreign countries. Under Make in India the indigenisation has got the beginning and some foundation has been laid, but it takes 10 years to show the actual results of it.
  • 10 years back Abdul Kalam had said that India should set the target that India should be importing 30% of its defence equipments and 70% should be produced in India. But this target has not been achieved.

Need of the Hour

  • We have 30 year backlog in procurement and so we need a huge increase in budget allocation so that the Army, Navy and Air Force can have what they should have at the moment. India needs 400 Air Crafts, there is deficient in basic rifiles, protection gears, artillery and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • The pace of procurement takes at least 10 to 15 years from the time of initiation till the equipment becomes operationalised. The Rafale deal is going on from past many years. There is a problem of corruption during procurement process. Therefore indigenisation of production and direct government to government deal like what we saw with US and France is necessary.
  • There are certain operational tasks of the day in J&K and in North East where our soldiers are fighting a proxy war and the war we are not able to deter. Therefore the immediate requirement is to provide good body armour, steady helmet and a good assault rifle to the soldiers. None of these three is currently available. The other important necessity is the artillery because of the Line of Control (LOC). One of the biggest deterrence in the pockets is the fire assaults that the soldiers carry. So we have to modernise our infantry and the artilleries on a day to day basis. The deterrence for the conventional wars is a medium to long term strategy.
  • For the procurement to be fast the decision making should be fast. The decision making is one of our greatest weaknesses.
  • India should not have a buyer seller relations with the country we procure defence equipments, rather we need technology transfer. India has got Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) with US where US is ready to provide technology assistance to India.

Army’s role during Disasters

  • The secondary task of the Army is to aid the civil authorities. In situations like floods, earth quake, when a child gets into a bore well it is the Army that is called up for assistance. The National Disaster Relief Organization dovetails with the military for disaster relief operations.

Conclusion

  • Indian Army is known for its professionalism, selfless commitment, and unparallel bravery. The recent One Rank One Pension (OROP) decision by the government is in right direction. The 7th pay commission award is fair and equitable. There are certain issues which are being addressed.
  • On the account of 69th Army Day the soldiers must be provided with necessary wherewithal for modernisation as promised by the Defence ministry. Soldiers must not look upon his family, its welfare and his basic needs. The soldiers must be assured that the country, the armed forces are with them and the political leaders are fully supportive of the modernisation and the welfare programmes. Once this happens, the jawans whether he is siachen or in Rajasthan will know that the country is behind him.