In a big development, Union Defence Minister has approved reform in the Army Headquarters. The defence ministry said, “The defence minister has approved certain decisions regarding re-organisation of Army headquarters.” He has given his assent to various proposals which are aimed at restructuring and reorganising the Indian Army Headquarters in New Delhi so as to improve the efficiency of the service. A defence ministry statement read, “The approval has been given based on a detailed internal study conducted by the Army Headquarters.”
It must be noted that last year, the Indian Army had finalised a roadmap for making the 1.3 million strong force leaner and meaner in an attempt to make it efficient and bolster its combat capabilities. The defence ministry also stated that 206 Army officers are being relocated from the Indian Army Headquarters and they would be made available to various field formations and units. The officers who are going to relocate include three major generals, eight brigadiers, nine colonel and 186 Lt Colonel/Major.
A crucial approval given by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is that of constitution of a separate vigilance cell under the Army with representation from the three defence services. As of now the vigilance department operates from multiple agencies and there is no single point interface in order to make the entire system efficacious. The Defence Ministry has stated, “An independent vigilance cell will be made functional under Chief of Army Staff (COAS). Accordingly, Additional Director General (vigilance) will be placed directly under the COAS for it.” The vigilance cell will have three Colonel-level officers, one each from the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.
Another key approval is the formation of Human Rights section. As per officials, the section for human rights issues will operate under the Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS). According to officials, it is being set up in order to accord high level priority to the human rights convention and values. The ministry has stated, “It has been decided to set up a special human rights section headed by ADG (Major General rank officer) directly under the VCOAS.” It will be the nodal point to examine any case of human rights violation. And it is not merely ornamental but a highly transparent and effective reform. The ministry has stated, “To enhance transparency and ensure the best of investigative expertise is available to the section, a Police officer of SSP/SP rank will be taken on deputation.”
With approval to these key reforms, the process of bolstering the effiency and combat capabilities of the Indian Army has been put in motion. The reform initiatives which were finalised in October last year by the top Indian Army commanders include restructuring the Army’s officer cadre, bringing down age of key commands, arresting rising revenue expenditure and “right-sizing” the force.