Army Chief General Manoj Pande stated on Thursday that the Indian Army is fully committed to and supportive of efforts to evolve integrated theatre commands.
“From General Rao’s times, while the legacy challenges of disputed and unresolved borders continue, the nature of threats both in the conventional and non-conventional domain have changed,” Gen Pande said during his address at the 4th Gen KV Krishna Rao memorial lecture.
“You have disruptive and dual-use technologies that change the nature of warfare, making battle spaces more complex, contested, and lethal,” he added.
According to the Army Chief, Information Warfare has sharpened the potential of social media in conflict zones, which we have seen for some time now, making it an increasingly important part of conflict prosecution.
“The grey zone aggression characterised by deniability caution quotient is emerging as a preferred strategy, and our adversaries are constantly striving to broaden this brand of resume grey zone in the conflict spectrum by employing both kinetic and non-kinetic means,” he said.
He also stated that India’s geopolitical influence in the international arena has grown exponentially.
“Today, we see not only the rising aspirations of our people, but also the world community’s expectations of our country and the vision for Amrit Kaal for the next 25 years that the honourable Prime Minister enunciated,” he said.
When discussing the transformation of the Indian Army, General Manoj Pande stated that he will focus on four key aspects.
“The first is in the area of human resource management, where you are all aware of the progressive and, in fact, ground-breaking reform of the Agneepath scheme, which was implemented about six months ago. And we’ve just begun enrolling Agniveers in regimental centres, with the first batch numbering close to 25,000. We have also developed an extremely transparent, robust, and credible Assessment and Selection system, on which the selected Agniveers will form the core of our organisation in the future,” he said.
He then emphasised initiatives for modernization and technology integration.
“The second aspect of transformation that we’re looking at is of course, the modernization and infusion of technology through a focused roadmap especially in the context of induction of niche and disruptive technologies. In this regard, as most of you are aware, we have established Centers of Excellence, particularly for AI and quantum key distribution of the MCTE. We have also established what we call Indian Army cells in collaboration with the country’s leading academic institutions. “This will serve as the foundation for our next major capital procurement project,” he said.
In terms of rebalancing, force restructuring, and organisational optimization, we must emphasise the importance of the right size.
“The third aspect of reforms is rebalancing, force restructuring, and organisational optimization. In terms of restructuring and reshaping an organisation, I believe it is more important to find the right size rather than reduce the size of an organisation. It also has to do with improving or achieving the proper teeth-to-tail ratio. In this regard, we discovered a number of legacy organisations, legacy units, and establishments that have little or no relevance in today’s environment. We are either planning to completely eliminate them, rationalise the numbers, or, in fact, sort of combine some of these organisations in terms of focusing on only our core function, certain non-core activities are something that we are looking at outsourcing in a big way,” he said.
The Army Chief also emphasised the importance of jointness and better integration.
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this aspect of jointness and improved integration. That is where I take the topic for today’s theorization lecture, which General Naravane will elaborate on. We’re also looking at how to best aggregate the capabilities of the three services in terms of jointness, integration, and finally achieving integrated theatre command models,” he said.
“As these initiatives take shape, I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” he added.
He stated that the Army Training Command is leading the effort to implement a new management philosophy.
“To address the impact of these changes or transition, the cognitive domain is as important and in that context, we have come up with a change management philosophy where our Army Training Command is leading the effort. This applies not only to senior or middle-level military leaders, but also to junior leaders, which I believe should be our guiding document in the near future,” he said.
Concurrently, he stated that fostering a positive organisational climate fosters not only competence but also success.
“I’m confident that all these changes that I just alluded to, will bring in a new vigour and confidence in the Indian Army and make it stronger, more capable to be in strike with the future. In effect, all of our efforts that I mentioned aim to shape a modern professional army,” he concluded.
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