Restructuring of Army’s HQ gets go-ahead from Centre

Updated on Aug 21, 2019 11:56 PM IST

The decisions taken by the minister include relocating 206 officers from the HQ to field areas, the creation of a separate vigilance cell under the Indian Army chief, and a new branch under the vice chief that will focus on human rights issues, a defence ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Union defence minister Rajnath Singh has given his go-ahead to the restructuring of the Army headquarters (HQ).(PTI Photo)
Union defence minister Rajnath Singh has given his go-ahead to the restructuring of the Army headquarters (HQ).(PTI Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Union defence minister Rajnath Singh has given his go-ahead to the restructuring of the Army headquarters (HQ) as part of a larger transformation plan of the force to become a deadlier fighting machine fully prepared for future wars.

The decisions taken by the minister include relocating 206 officers from the HQ to field areas, the creation of a separate vigilance cell under the Indian Army chief, and a new branch under the vice chief that will focus on human rights issues, a defence ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The minister’s approval follows a comprehensive internal study by the HQ. Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on July 5 the government had given the green light to the restructuring proposal.

The army has conducted four comprehensive studies to change the complexion and direction of the 1.2 million-strong force, and make it a leaner and meaner fighting machine. Apart from Reorganisation of the Army Headquarters, the remaining three are the Reorganisation and Rightsizing of the Indian Army, Cadre Review of Officers, and Review of Terms of Engagement of Rank and File.

The other proposals will come up for the Centre’s approval soon.

As part of the Army HQ’s restructuring, the 206 officers to be relocated to forward areas are three major generals, eight brigadiers, nine colonels and 186 lieutenant colonels and majors, the spokesperson said.

The Indian Army is also creating two new positions in its headquarters for strengthening its vigilance set-up and monitoring human rights-related matters as part of the restructuring, as reported by HT on March 8.

“Presently, the vigilance function for the army chief is through multiple agencies and there is no single point interface. An independent vigilance cell will be made functional under the Chief of the Army Staff. Accordingly, additional director general (vigilance) will be placed directly under the COAS for this purpose,” the spokesperson said.

The cell will have three colonel-ranked officers each from the three services, all pulled out from existing posts in the Army HQ. No new posts are to be sanctioned for this.

The spokesperson added a special human rights section headed by a major general would be set up under the vice chief to give priority to human rights issues and it will serve as the nodal point to examine violation reports. “To enhance transparency and ensure the best of investigative expertise is available to the section, a police officer of SSP/SP rank will be taken on deputation,” he added.

The implementation of the four studies in their totality would reduce troops (by about 100,000), allow the army to tap technological advances in warfare, create integrated brigades that can be mission-deployed swiftly, cut down the size of the army headquarters, improve the army’s tooth-to-tail ratio and enhance career prospects.

Former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retd) said the approval to the restructure of the Army headquarters is a welcome step as it will strengthen the army’s vigilance and human rights set up and also help address shortage of officers in field areas to some extent. “The three remaining studies should be pushed for approval now as they will help improve operational and procurement aspects,” he added.

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