naravane gene: Soldiers will maintain frontline combat readiness with China and Pakistan despite budget cuts due to Covid: Gen Naravane | Indian News| Instant News

NEW DELHI: A strong 12-lakh force will ensure operational efficiency and combat readiness is not affected on the western and eastern fronts due to the financial crisis after corona virus The pandemic severely hit government finances, Army Commander General M M Naravane said on Friday.
Indian armed forces must “stay alive” and fulfill the scenario of a “two-front war” with China Pakistan, even though the possibility is far. The armed forces, in fact, are currently faced with a situation of “two fronts plus half (terrorism and rebellion) plus half (the Covid-19 pandemic),” General Naravane, in a webinar organized by IDSA tank-defense.
Noting that there will be “some budget constraints this year,” the army commander said his forces had identified several activities, such as holding large exercises and moving battalions from one peaceful time location to another, which could be suspended and returned prioritized.
The Army is “fully committed” to the continuing push for “Make in India” and independence in the defense production sector, rather than importing exorbitant weapons systems. “Every time we enter to import weapons, we have done so to close the operational vacuum until the original weapons can be developed,” he said.
About 75% of orders and contracts made to the Army last year, for example, went to Indian companies. Acknowledging that most of it was for the defense PSU and the Armory Council factories, the head of the Army said, “We must look to give more orders to private industry in India.”
The labor-intensive Army is also trying to fix the problem of 80% of its annual budget for income expenditure (salaries and daily operating expenses), with only 20% left for modernization.
But, he said, there were few choices until now because of two “very active borders” with China and Pakistan and a strong commitment in counter-insurgency operations and counter-terror operations in Kashmir and northeast.
Proposals such as “task tours” (ToD), in which the Army plans to appoint children as officers and prisoners for a three-year term, can help reduce income expenditure and reduce pension expenses. “This is clearly an idea we can pursue,” General Naravane said.
TOI on May 13 reported that the Army was completing a radical ToD proposal against the background of the urgent need for cadre restructuring amid swelling salaries and pension bills that had a negative impact on military modernization.
The ToD scheme, if and when approved, will initially be launched with around 100 vacancies for officers and 1,000 for Malaysians. This would be a “voluntary military service” scheme, not to be confused with compulsory military conscription as in some countries like Israel.


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