Retired Generals of the Army have advised that forthcoming restructuring of the forces should not lose focus of the two-front simultaneous war scenario and also budget constraints should not be the only guiding principle to re-cast the Army.
These opinions emerged after Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat met former chiefs and senior officers to discuss the nuances of restructuring the force over a two-hour session in Delhi on Sunday.
Details emerging now indicate that the veterans — former chiefs and Lieut Generals — were informed about the forthcoming changes. Among the invitees were those retired officers who are regular on TV shows and write columns in newspapers.
Despite being retired the Generals keep in touch with their regiments for life, hence are important in conveying the “right message”.
The veterans were informed about four major in-house studies being carried out. The most important is “Reorganisation and Rightsizing of the Indian Army”, which reviews operational structures to make them efficient and future-ready by taking into account the operational situation on Western and Northern Borders. This will include creation of integrated battle groups (IBGs) fully equipped with elements of warfare.
In an interview to the Tribune on November 5, General Rawat had said how these IBGs were planned to be pre-positioned facing the western (Pakistan) and northern (China) borders.
The second study is on “Reorganisation of the Army Headquarters”, aimed at integrating various wings. The third study is on “Cadre Review of Officers”, which focuses on incorporating the proposed reorganisation and restructuring and plans to have a balanced cadre to meet the aspirations of officers. This will include longer tenures as Brigadier, Maj General and Lt General and faster promotion from Colonel to Brigadier.
The fourth study is on “Review of Terms of Engagement of Rank and File”, aimed at having a younger profile of officers. The retired Generals have been told that the IBGs are being “Test-beded” — a term in military parlance for trying out a new concept in the field under real conditions.
Army plans two types of integrated battle groups (IBGs) — smaller for mountains (China border) and bigger for plains (Pakistan border). Each border may have around 8-10 IBGs.
Each IBG may have 8,000-10,000 troops and comprise 4-6 infantry and armoured battalions, 2-3 artillery regiments, an engineers’ unit, integrated signals unit and dedicated integral logistics.
Brigadiers may command smaller IBGs and Major Generals the bigger ones. Both will be under the Corps Commander of the area.