No budgetary constraints for meeting Army's requirements: Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister hails the forces during biannual address of Army senior leadership

rajnath-singh-army-commanders Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with CDS Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff Manoj Mukund Naravane and others at the Army Commanders Conference, in New Delhi | PTI

From praising the performance of the Indian Army in handling the “current security situation” to assuring it of funding and calling for the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh touched on several bases during his address of the biannual Army Commander’s Conference on Tuesday.

“The Government is focused on enhancing combat capability and ensuring welfare of soldiers,” he said, adding that the Delegation of Financial Powers – 2016, Defence Procurement Manual and the Army HQ Restructuring proposals are currently under review and will be finalised soon.

“The announcement of Atmanirbhar Bharat and notification of negative list of imports are big steps towards self-reliance in defence which offer a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to meet the future requirements of the Armed Forces”. He reiterated that “There are no budgetary constraints for capability development and meeting other requirements of the Army”.

Singh said the decision to grant permanent commission to women in the Army is another significant decision that will ensure equal opportunities for professional growth to all officers irrespective of their gender.

The Army Commanders’ Conference, an apex level biannual event, is being held in New Delhi from October 26-29. During the event, Indian Army's apex leadership is comprehensively deliberating upon all aspects of existing security scenarios, situation along the borders and in the hinterland and challenges for the present security apparatus. In addition, the conference is also focussing on issues pertaining to organisational restructuring, logistics, administration and human resource management.

The main highlight of the third day of the conference was the address by the defence minister to the senior leadership of the Indian Army.

Commenting on the current situation along the Northern borders, Singh expressed confidence that while troops are standing firm, the ongoing talks for peaceful resolution of crisis will continue. Expressing his gratitude, he remarked “It is our national responsibility to ensure availability of best weapons, equipment and clothing to our troops braving extreme weather and hostile forces to defend our territorial integrity”.

The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri complimented the efforts of BRO working under difficult conditions to connect far flung areas so that our citizens living in those locations are connected and facilitate faster development.

Singh reaffirmed the faith of the billion-plus citizens in the Indian Army as one of the most trusted and inspiring organisations in the country. He reiterated the stellar role played by the Army in guarding our borders and fighting terrorism apart from providing assistance to the civil administration whenever called for. He also appreciated the role played by the Indian Armed Forces in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. He said the actions of Indian Army ensure the “integrity and sovereignty of our great nation”.

He complimented the forces for the high standard of operational preparedness and capabilities which he experienced firsthand during his visits to forward areas. He also paid tributes to the bravehearts of Galwan, Kashmir and the North East for making the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of the motherland. He complimented the significant contributions made by the Army in defence diplomacy to further our national security interests by creating sustainable cooperative relationships with foreign armies.

He appreciated the Army’s efforts to develop niche technologies in collaboration with civil industries including premier educational institutions. He also complimented the in-house development of the “Secure Application for Internet (SAI)”, an application for secure messaging within the Indian Army.

Referring to the situation along the Western borders, he complimented the Indian Army’s response to cross border terrorism and ceasefire violations. Singh said “I compliment the excellent synergy between the CAPF/ Police forces and the Army in tackling the menace of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. It is due to the synergised operations in the Valley that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is moving to a stable and peaceful environment conducive for overall growth and development”.

Singh called the creation of CDS and DMA a “momentous decision in Indian history” and said the concept of Integrated Battle Groups, Integrated Theatre Commands and Integrated Air Defence Commands would be game changers in the way Indian Armed forces fight future wars. He further remarked that “These were a result of the decision by Hon’ble Prime Minster to undertake decisive reforms for transformational change to improve operational capability”. He also alluded to the establishment of the Defence Cyber and Space Agencies which will enhance the kinetic potential of the forces.

On the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board, a move the government has been keen on for a long time in the face of opposition from the OFB unions, Singh said the government was committed to corporatise the OFB to enhance their efficiency and accountability. He also assured the veteran community that all issues related to Ex Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), which he said was one of the government's flagship schemes, will be addressed expeditiously. The recent decisions to enhance monitory assistance to Next of Kin of all categories of Battle Casualties from existing Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 8 lakhs granted under ABCWF and removal of minimum service clause for enhanced ordinary family pension are some of the major decisions taken to alleviate problems of our families.

He concluded by saying that “The Government is committed to facilitate the Army in their forward movement on road to reforms and capability development”.

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