The Indian Army has a new chief. Gen Deepak Kapoor took over the reins of the world's second largest fighting force on Sunday noon from Gen JJ Singh and declared that accelerating the modernisation of the force would be among his top priorities.
Gen Kapoor was vice-chief of the Army before taking over as the 23rd chief from Gen Singh and has also been the Northern Army Commander in the past. The outgoing Army chief handed over the baton to Gen Kapoor at the Defence Headquarters.
Earlier, speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the ceremony, Gen Singh defended the demand for a larger share of the higher ranks being created as suggested by the AV Singh Committee. Gen Singh had written to the Defence Minister seeking a greater share of the new general-rank posts for the Army. The letter had sparked off a tug of war between the three chiefs. "My letter was a genuine plea for a fair deal," he told reporters. Gen Singh said the three service chiefs were justified in putting across their points of view. According to the recommendations of the committee, 156 general-rank posts are to be created. These include 95 for the Army for Lieutenant Generals and Major Generals. The Air Force is to get a share of 38 equivalent posts and the Navy, 23.
Gen Singh said that his approach of using an iron fist for militants and a velvet glove for insurgency affected locals had fetched goods results. "We are a people's army and people have accepted the army as a guarantor of security and peace. Violence and casualties on our side in J and K and the North East have been contained to about one-thirds of what they were," Gen Singh added, referring to counter-insurgency operations during his time.
According to PTI, shortly after taking over Gen Kapoor said: "My top priority would be to step up the pace of modernization." As the dynamics of fighting battles changes the world over, there has been stress on modernising armies and replacing the use of manpower in conflict with firepower.