Galvanised into action after a series of clashes between officers and soldiers raised serious questions about discipline levels,the Army has rolled out measures to impart man-management training to officers and has also taken steps to ensure they spend more time with soldiers on the field.
Lessons learnt from three major clashes that occurred in the last two years in Tibri,Nyoma and Samba will be converted into special case studies to be used by officers training institutions,sources said. Details of the mass insubordination incidents will become man-management case studies to train officers.
All three incidents the biggest being the clash in Nyoma in May 2012 for which 168 personnel have faced action were blamed on poor man-management as well as the reduction in the amount of time spent by officers at operational units.
To increase the availability of officers in field areas,the Army has initiated measures such as bunching courses and reducing study time.
Sources said these measures would save as many as 43,000 officer days annually,ensuring officers spend more time with their units instead of at courses and the headquarters.
The severe shortage of officers at units,which leaves many tasks to Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs),is being seen by Army HQ as a critical factor in the clashes.
To help give commanding officers more time with their units,instructions have also gone out that the responsibility of writing papers or making presentations should no longer be delegated to units but should be undertaken by staff officers at the HQ.
Besides,study leave for officers has been reduced to the minimal to ensure they stay with their men and formations have been asked not to conduct study programmes and learning capsules for young officers.
These requirements will,however,continue to be met by the regimental centres.
The Army chief had last year ordered a study to look at measures such as bunching courses and training studies besides expanding the role of women officers.
In most infantry battalions deployed in roles from border security to counterinsurgency,only 12-14 officers are available at any given point against a sanctioned strength of 22. In peace formations,the availability is even lower at 9-10 per battalion.
THREE CASES THAT JOLTED THE ARMY
* Officer-soldier clash at the 45 Cavalry unit based in Punjab in June 2011 caused a near mutinous mood that was defused only after commanding officer rushed to the spot. Three officers and 16 soldiers were subsequently tried by a military court on a variety of charges.
* Allegations that the wife of an officer had been molested triggered intense clashes between officers and jawans at 226 Artillery Unit in Nyoma in May 2012. As many as 168 personnel of the Ladakh-based unit faced action for this.
* A protest by several soldiers of the Samba-based 16 Cavalry armoured unit in August 2012 went out of control but was stopped before it caused serious physical violence.