Army may trim 27,000 from non-core units
- The Army plans to reduce its manpower by around 27,000 soldiers in organisations not part of its regular field formations and units
- This will entail a saving of about Rs 1,600 crore
- The proposal aims to withdraw soldiers deployed in ‘non-core activities’
There are about 1,75,000 officers and soldiers currently deployed in organizations ranging from the Military Engineer Services, National Cadet Corps, Border Roads Organization, Territorial Army and Sainik Schools to the operationally-crucial Assam Rifles, Rashtriya Rifles and Strategic Forces Command, all of which do not come under the regular standing Army.
“A new comprehensive study, chaired by the director-general (perspective planning) at the Army headquarters, has recommended the reduction of Army manpower in such organizations by about 27,000 personnel as well as their restructuring for better efficiency and effectiveness,” said a source.
Army sends plan to defence ministry
“The proposal, which aims to withdraw soldiers deployed in `non-core activities’ in such establishments called `composition table-2’ (CT-2) organizations, is now being forwarded to the defence ministry for approval,” he added.
This proposed reduction is part of the larger reforms to transform the Army 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
As was first reported by TOI last year, the Army conducted four studies on force reorganization and optimization, flattening headquarters at different levels, cadre review and terms of engagement for officers and jawans, which are to be gradually implemented after requisite approvals from this year onwards.
Sources say the government sanction letter (GSL) to kick off the first batch of reforms to restructure and down-size the Army headquarters in New Delhi “will be issued any day now”. The measures include relocation of 229 officers on staff duties to frontline operational posts and creation of a new post of deputy chief (strategy) for military operations, intelligence, logistics and strategic planning, among others.
“The burgeoning strength at the Army headquarters has reduced the availability of trained and experienced manpower at the frontline. In the existing unwieldly structure at New Delhi, many branches and directorates have duplicity and overlapping in their roles…this will be done away with,” said another source.
Concomitantly, the Army is getting to begin raising new integrated battle groups (IBGs) that can mobilize fast and strike hard across the borders with Pakistan and China, as part of its ongoing endeavor to reformat its entire war-fighting machinery and sharpen the “Cold Start” doctrine.
The new self-contained IBGs, centered around T-90S main-battle tanks with a mix of infantry, artillery, air defence, signals and engineers, will be commanded by Major Generals. The plan is to raise two to three IBGs in the plains of Jammu, Punjab and Rajasthan for the Pakistan border by October-November, while the ones meant for China will come up later under the new 17 Mountain Strike Corps, as was reported by TOI earlier.