Theatre Commands may not happen in 3 years: Army chief General Naravane
Gen Naravane, who took over as the 28th Army Chief on December 31, said Indian Army is “well geared to tackle any eventuality” amid “unsuccessful infiltration bids” by terrorists from Pakistan.Updated: Feb 21, 2020 10:45 IST
The Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, on Thursday said theatre commands may not be operationalised by 2022 as the concept is still is in “the ideation stage” and “timelines are important”, but the three forces are moving towards the ambitious plan to optimally utilise the resources of the defence forces.
“Theatre Commands is in the ideation stage. We need a road map and there must be timelines to implement it ,” Gen Naravane said.
Earlier, the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat had said that it would take at least three years for theatre commands to be operationalised.
Gen Naravane, who took over as the 28th Army Chief on December 31, said Indian Army is “well geared to tackle any eventuality” amid “unsuccessful infiltration bids” by terrorists from Pakistan.
While terrorism-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir have significantly reduced, cross-border firings in violation of the ceasefire agreement are still on, he said. “No infiltration bid has been successful,” he reiterated, when asked about the situation along the Line of Control – the de-facto disputed boundary between India and Pakistan. The Indian security establishment, he said, is getting a steady stream of information on the number of terrorists waiting in training camps and launch pads across the border. “We are keeping a close watch on these terror facilities, which are mostly based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). There are around 300-350 terrorists still holed up in various makeshift camps,” said the Army Chief.
Gen Naravane warned that Pakistan would try to push terrorists from across the border as mountain passes open up faster this year because of the early onset of summer, “But our ‘Summer Strategy’ is in place. More troops would be moved, if required, but that would entirely depend on the local commanders who have a free hand to operate,” he said.
China also realised that it cannot always back their “so-called all-weather friend,” Gen Naravane said alluding to Pakistan’s hand behind cross-border terrorism and the ongoing plenary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Islamabad appears to remain in the Paris-based FATF’s grey list. “They (China) have taken a step back because there was all-round pressure on Pakistan for abetting cross-border terrorism,” said Gen Naravane.
The army chief welcomed the Supreme Court (SC) judgment granting permanent commission (Permanent Commission) to women officers. “The judgement of the Supreme Court is an encouraging one. The Indian Army does not discriminate any soldier based on religion, caste, creed or even gender. The apex court verdict gives a lot of clarity,” said Gen Naravane.
He said that the army would first take steps “to comply with SC judgement to grant PC”. “We have drafted a plan. We will send letters to everyone asking them whether they want PC.” he added.
“The procedure for granting PC to women officers will be the same as granting PC to male Short Service Commission (SSC) officers,” said General Naravane.
The army chief also dismissed criticism about the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS). “I think the scheme has been unfairly maligned. More funds have been allocated to the scheme to meet its requirements,” he added.