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Army drafts new war doctrine

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MARCH 4. The Army has drafted a new war doctrine and it would be finalised after receiving suggestions from all quarters, said the Chief of the Army Staff, N.C. Vij, at a seminar here. Former and serving army officers took a critical look at the Army's preparedness for meeting challenges and felt it wanting.

Over the last decade and a half, while the professional levels of its officers and men have been sustained and even enhanced in many respects, the fighting potential of the force has decreased.

The factors responsible for this included resistance to change in the Army brass, political leadership's lack of knowledge of security-related issues, withholding or decreasing budgetary allocations, short command tenures, hesitation among senior officers to take risks and a status quo mentality among a large number of decision-makers.

Recalling the two major structural changes in the size and organisational structure of the Army — post-1962 and in the mid-80s — the former Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, Vijay Oberoi, felt that the impact of these changes was lost as there was no matching change in the doctrine.

"Resultantly, the Army has generally remained static, both structurally and in doctrinal terms, except for incremental changes, to meet the challenges as they arose. What the Army has lacked is a futuristic vision and a firm resolve for change, as also the courage to adopt the innovative and shun the predictable," he noted at the seminar organised by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, a think-tank set up recently and supported by the Army.

Lt. Gen. Oberoi heads the institution and its importance as a quasi-independent organisation was underlined by the presence of the three Service chiefs at the inaugural.

He felt the time is right to take advantage of the ongoing revolution in military affairs (RMA) and plan for radical and fundamental changes so that the Army does not just remain large in numbers but also carries the necessary punch.

The RMA, manifested by high technology weapons, sensors, communications and IT, will increasingly affect all types of military operations. The Army should endeavour to make the battlefield more digitised, signalling the growing primacy of electromagnetic spectrum.

The second area was promoting joint and combined operations. Former naval officer, P.S. Das, and the former Air Force official, Jasjit Singh, also stressed this aspect in different ways. Both wanted a deeper debate on synergy without getting into the turf loyalties.

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