TAKEAWAYS: Army Chief Gen. Dalbir on Pakistan, China, his journey, army’s woes and his priorities


PIC1

Challenges are growing. Neutralized 110 terrorists in 2014 as against 65 the year before in JK – impressive turn out by voters especially in locations like TRAL and Sopore

Terror training camps across the border intact. Pakistan is supporting the war in JK despite their own problems

Spillover from Afghanistan is being watched carefully by us

Border with China is peaceful. Following constructive engagement with them by Confidence Building Mechanisms. Our army to army communication is helping resolve whatever issues may be thrown up

In North East, the situation is stable. People friendly operations going on

JK floods our response was evident despite our suffering. I saw 10-12 feet water inside BB cantt yet we did not stop helping the locals. Mobilized country wide resources to help situation

In sports too we got 12 Golds, 18 Silvers and multiple bronze medals, internationally. We need not stop at that. Mission Olympic is on tract to bring greater glory to the nation. Have begun training for 2020

Challenges are growing

Focused on infrastructure along our northern borders since large capability gap exists there

Raising the mountain strike core is progressing on time line

Have more than 100 projects, have identified 20 important and in them 7 critical ones have been segregated and fast tracked

Efforts being made with regards to deficiency of arms and ammunition

Human Resource is a vital asset and improving living conditions of our soldiers is dear to my heart

Phase I of Married accommodation project, 98% complete and Phase II is 30% done and phase III is on the planning board

Soldier’s health facilities and education of their children is important. Have a proposal which has been discussed with Defence Minister. Will open law, medical and technical education colleges for the wards of our JCOs and Other Ranks

Ex Servicemen are a very important component. Will fail in my duty if I do not highlight their lot. Most disciplined force. Reservoir of knowledge and experience. Want to assure them and veer naaris will remain a part of our larger family

Your work motivates soldiers and that makes a key difference. Sure you will keep his contributions in the limelight

Your army is prepared, well trained, motivated, equipped and focused to protect national interest

My own journey from NDA to Army Chief’s chair is well known. Has been a very satisfying journey. Most of our officers seek tough postings and very few requests come for postings in better, easier postings

I was a part of the first battalion which landed in Sri Lanka. Was then an instructor in IMA and I learnt about the casualties of my Commanding Officer. Had to go and tell his family about. Next morning I called General Cardozo from Military Secretary asking me to be allowed to go Sri Lanka. I found there was no order. I called him again. He issued the order and I flew to Delhi. By 9pm I was in Chennai and by 12 noon I was on the way and reached my unit by 5am. From 1987 to 1989 I remained with my unit even though we were told it would be a six month tenure. This experience helped me in Nagaland as CO and then in Macchil, Kargil and as eastern army commander

Seven critical projects include artillery guns, 814 guns project has been cleared by Defence Minister, third generation missile project cleared for Rs 3700cr for close to 8000 missiles, project for acquisition of helicopters, upgradation of tanks and BMPs, infantry assault rifles + jackets + helmets and night vision devices for mechanized and infantry arms

Women officers are as much a part as male officers. Parading an all women’s contingent on republic day is a part of making of the service more inclusive and attractive

On 26/11 repeat: MHA is the lead agency on internal security challenges. Our synergy with MHA is very good and ours is pan India deployment and thus our presence is there everywhere. We can easily stand behind our efforts of MHA

Pakistan’s violations are not new. They have been doing so along the LoC. It has only now shifted to International Border. It could be because our counter insurgency grid is very strong including the obstacles we have places. They have thereby reduced their efforts through LoC. May be thus they are trying. The terrain in Jammu is being exploited. While intruding from Arnia we found their civil clothes were wet and obviously they came in through rivulets. Their focus is thus shifting

On restraint in JK: No restrictions laid by me on any commanders. They have full freedom. Even on LAC if they are fired upon they are free to retaliate in a manner they feel is appropriate. Human Rights have to be observed

Afghanistan: Situation has improved in the last 13 years. The Afghan National Army is now seemingly capable to handle challenges. Effect of drawdown can not be ruled out. Effect in J&K can be felt. We were keeping close watch

LAC demarcation: It will be first step towards resolving the border dispute. We can not progress otherwise. Once demarcated we won’t have face offs and transgressions

Short tenures in higher ranks are not desirable. We used to have better, longer tenures but following the AB Singh committee reports tenures have been shortened. I reviewed this on taking over. Gave directions to ensure that minimum will be 14-15 months for our General Officers Commanding (GOCs). A senior commander has a large area and it only makes sense he gets adequate time

Desirable to have a better ratio between permanent to short,service officers. Best ratio is 4.7 regulars to 1 short service whereas we would want to bring it down go 1.1 to 1. Shortage of SSC officers and vacancies are not getting filled up. May be SSC is not as attractive as it should be. There are more takes for permanent commission. We have taken it up to make SSC more attractive

Our pay commission cells have jointly sent a proposal. We service chiefs decided that our projection be well understood. We have had three interactions with the seventh pay commission. We asked them to visit forward areas and on our request they visited Siachen, Kargil & Leh to understand our conditions of work. Have also requested desert terrain so they visited Jodhpur. Next month they will visit eastern command as well as counter insurgency operations areas. We are confident of meeting expectations of our retired men as well as retired staffers

National War Memorial and museum has been approved by PM and Defence Minister. It will be made within the India Gate general area. It is the most central and most suitable. Even initial amount has been made and designs are being finalized

On frost bite: Prolonged exposure is the cause. I have served in high altitude areas five times. Our patrol was on a long route and the encounter took place. We have identified areas and respective procurements

Chhattisgarh government is employing ex servicemen. We are raising additional Territorial Army battalions, seven more. We I go I meet ex servicemen, I pick up that they would rather do jobs where there is no risk to life involved

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