Millennium Post

Antony reviews Army

Antony reviews Army
For the first time since General Bikram Singh took over office as the chief of army staff [COAS], the Defence Minister, AK Antony, had a meeting on Indian Army’s ‘modernisation.’ And as the defence ministry spokesperson briefed about the proceedings of the meeting, it appeared that Antony did most of the talking. And he was benchmarking the army’s progress on the basis of what was happening across the northern and eastern borders of the country – namely in China.

While benchmarking with China has the advantage of automatically covering the capabilities of Pakistan, it seemed that with the new dispensation in place in the army, retired general, Vijai Kumar Singh’s much vaunted ‘military transformation’ and ‘revolution in military affairs’ ideas have seen their day and have received watery burial in the putrid Yamuna river. In the latest lexicon the much simpler ‘modernisation’ is now in vogue.

From that standpoint, the army chief gave his perspective about 'capital procurement', 'development of infrastructure' and 'requirement of ammunition.' The minister asked him to prioritise and focus on 'critical areas.' He suggested organisational changes for 'desired output in a short time span' and proposed that the army use fully this year’s 'budgeted amount.'

Antony also referred to 'force accretion in north-eastern areas.' He also focused on enhancement of airlift capacities in the eastern region. Curiously, he even talked about 'improvement of holding of ammunition' and an 'increase in air assets'. In other words, he told the army to be ready to dump and maintain ammunition in the region, and possibly create redundancies, besides having heavy lift and attack choppers in the ready for action.

Antony also told the COAS that he should pay attention to 'progressing artillery acquisition cases and increasing night fighting capabilities.' The apparently energised minister talked about having unmanned aerial vehicles in the area and increasing intelligence gathering and surveillance capabilities.
Pinaki Bhattacharya

Pinaki Bhattacharya

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