The Indian Army has decided to put more “combat-worthy” Army officers on the field, with the Defence Ministry Thursday approving a proposal to increase the number of officers for forward units. The ministry has also approved the creation of the post of Deputy Chief of Army Staff Strategy to deal with operational and force planning.
The development comes in wake of heightened tension between India and Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
Watch: Pulwama terror attack; What is Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terror group that attacked the CRPF convoy
According to the ministry, as many as 229 officers from the headquarters will be “optimised and relocated to units and formations of the filed armies”. This is nearly 20 per cent of the strength of officers there, officials said. They said that this has been a long-standing demand and it was felt that combat-worthy officers, who are serving at Army headquarters, should be part of field units.
The decision, an official said, was based on a study conducted on the reorganisation of the Army headquarters. The recommendations were submitted to the Defence Ministry on February 27, nine months after the study was commissioned.
Officials familiar with the matter at the ministry said field units are currently working at 50 per cent of their capacity and this move will strengthen the units.
“The number of officers up to the rank of Colonel in Army Headquarters is currently between 1,000 and 1,100, and 20 per cent of them will be available for field postings. Ninety per cent of these officers are from the ranks of Colonel and below. It’s the officers who lead the men in combat, so having more of them with field units will definitely enhance operational capabilities,” the official said.
The proposal was part of four studies conducted by the Army for a leaner and more efficient force. One of the studies included restructuring of the Army headquarters.
Earlier, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had stressed on the need for reforms in the Army to make it more agile, lethal, versatile and efficient. “He had commissioned the study in June last year,” another official said, adding that such efforts have been made on 12 occasions in the past, with the first being in 1975 under General Krishna Rao.
The Defence Ministry has also accepted the recommendation for the creation of the post of Deputy Chief of Army Staff Strategy. The post will have military operations, military intelligence, strategic planning and the newly created information warfare (IW) branches under it.
An official said the new DG (IW) will have the erstwhile ADGs (Public Information) and Information Warfare (IW) wings under him to counter social media propaganda and hybrid warfare.