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Army wants Doklam panel under new Deputy Chief, cabinet nod awaited

The Indian Army is planning to institutionalise the key war committee that was created during the Doklam standoff between India and China in 2017. ​​This setup is established only during a war like situation, otherwise all these heads work under different verticals. ​​The defence ministry has approved the proposal.

Dec 14, 2019, 09.47 AM IST
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In picture: Final stretch of road to Doklam from India side in Sikkim. A prolonged standoff lasting for about two and a half months, between troops of China and India took place in June 2017.
NEW DELHI: The Indian Army is working towards ensuring that a key war committee created during the 2017 Doklam standoff becomes institutionalised with better synergy under the new post of Deputy Chief (Strategy), as part of the army’s restructuring plans.

The committee comprising the heads of military operations, intelligence, planning and perception management is created on an adhoc basis under the army’s Vice Chief.

This setup is established only during a war like situation, otherwise all these heads work under different verticals. The army has sent a proposal as part of an internal study on restructuring the army headquarters to the defence ministry to place all these heads under the newly proposed Deputy Chief (Strategy). Under him, all the mentioned heads will not only work together during a war like situation, but even during peacetime.

The defence ministry has approved the proposal. The biggest hurdle now is getting cabinet approval, which is required as the post is above the joint secretary level. Files have been moving back and forth between the army and ministry to iron out all technicalities, officials explained.

If the matter comes into effect, the vertical of the Deputy Chief (Strategy), who will be a Lieutenant General rank officer, is expected to lead to more synergised efforts and coordination.

“When Doklam happened, there was a mechanism by which a group called the ops & planning committee gets together. We were almost at war, so there has to be coordination with operations, intelligence, perception management and with some other verticals. This ad hoc group is under the Vice Chief. People came from different verticals and gave their contribution. We realised why not have a separate entity of having operations, intelligence, logistics, perception and perspective planning in one group headed by somebody who will give sufficient advice to the Chief and Vice Chief...Today I can give the same task to the Deputy Chief Strategy and it will be looked at,” an official explained.

The fine tuning is taking place to also ensure ‘jointness’ within the army headquarters and with others as well, a backbone requirement in the time to come due to the creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), who will ensure coordination between the three defence services. “If we don’t have jointness in our headquarters, then how can we have with other organisations,” another official said.

The new post will have the Director General of Military Operations, Director General of Military Information, Director General of Perspective Planning, Director General Operational Logistics and the Director General Information Warfare (DGIW) under it.

The new post of DGIW is currently at the level of ADG, but the army believes that information warfare is an important aspect, especially in light of Pakistani propaganda, and therefore needs a more senior ranking officer. The DGIW will have under the Additional Directorate General of Public Information, which will be renamed to ADG Strategic Communication.

The appointment of Deputy Chief (Strategy) will be the creation of the third Deputy Chief post in the army. Meanwhile, changes will also be made to the existing post of Deputy Chief (Planning & Systems), who will be renamed Deputy Chief (Capability Development and Sustenance).

The important change will be merging the verticals of Deputy Chief (P&S) who looks at capital procurements and of the Master General Ordnance (MGO) who deals with revenue procurements. The MGO will be renamed to Master General Sustenance. All these are Lieutenant General rank appointments. Officials explained that during the Doklam standoff ammunition was being procured both by the Deputy Chief (P&S) and the MGO as well.

Now, it will be done only through the Deputy Chief (CD&S). This is expected to lead to cutting duplication of work. “The exercise is revenue neutral and there is no change in the number of Lieutenant Generals,” an official said.

Also Read

Next Doklam could be in Arunachal, warns BJP MP

New Army deputy-chief to look after ops & strategic planning post-Doklam

Doklam: one motorable road complete, second to be constructed by March 2021

Post-Doklam, first military drill with China

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