Jawans to take part in top military meet for first time, PM Modi to address it
- The military is expected to make a presentation to the PM on the situation along the borders and progress made towards the creation of theatre commands.
For the first time, junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and jawans will take part in India’s top military conference to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat’s Kevadia this weekend, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The JCOs and jawans are expected to make presentations on some military topics during a segment of the Combined Commanders' Conference, said one of the officials cited above.
The conference will be attended by defence minister Rajnath Singh, chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat, the three service chiefs and commander-in-chief ranked officers of the armed forces. The three-day conference will begin on Thursday, with the PM delivering his address on March 6, said a second official.
The JCOs and jawans have been invited to take part in the conference on the back of their gallant actions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) where India and China are locked in a border standoff and both sides are currently in the midst of a disengagement process as well as their role in thwarting infiltration attempts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
After the National Democratic Alliance came to power in 2014, and then again in 2019, the PM has taken the initiative to reach out to jawans on several occasions including his practice of celebrating Diwali with soldiers. The PM has also repeatedly highlighted their role in safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in his public speeches.
PM Modi meeting and interacting with the JCOs and jawans during the Combined Commanders’ Conference is a major departure from tradition, and it will definitely send a positive message to all ranks of the armed forces, said Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retd), a former director general of military operations.
“Indian soldiers cost the minimum and deliver the maximum. Recognition by the PM will surely be a morale booster. It is an apt recognition of their sacrifices and professionalism, especially in view of the effective management of the LAC and LoC,” Bhatia added.
The conference was traditionally held in Delhi but has been organised outside the national capital during the last five years. In the past, it has been held on India’s solitary aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and Jodhpur, among other places.
The conference is being held at a time when Indian and China are negotiating disengagement in eastern Ladakh and the military is putting finishing touches to its theaterisation plan for the most advantageous utilisation of its resources to address growing security threats.
Also, it comes on the back of Indian and Pakistani militaries last week announcing that they had begun observing a ceasefire along the LoC from the midnight of February 24.
The military is expected to make a presentation to the PM on the situation along the borders and progress made towards the creation of theatre commands, said the second official.
India is set to begin a formal roll-out of its long-awaited theaterisation plan, with the Air Defence Command and the Maritime Theatre Command set to be launched by May, as previously reported by HT.