General Bikram Singh assumes charge as the Chief of Army Staff today. In the last week of May, Gen Singh, while on a tour to various formations in north-east, shared few of his thoughts with Sainik Samachar (for issue June 1-15, 2012), the fortnightly journal of the armed forces. Some excerpts from what he spoke on various issues:
What are your priorities after taking over as the Army Chief?
My first priority is to ensure the operational readiness of the Army to enable it to fulfil its constitutional obligations and assigned roles effectively. Secondly, address the hollowness and ensure the modernisation process proceeds as per stipulated timelines. Thirdly, strengthen the Army’s work culture and the core values, namely, Duty, Honour, Loyalty, Integrity, Respect and Selfless Service. Fourthly, focus on effective human resource management to ensure high standards of motivation and morale amongst all ranks. Fifthly, enhance ‘jointness’ with other services. Sixthly, ensure welfare of veterans, Veer Naris and widows. It is important that we care for these very valuable members of our fraternity as they constitute the very bedrock of our bigger Army family. All commanders must endeavour to create a climate during their command tenures that hinges on our cherished core values, professional ethos and is conducive for growth and cohesion.
Look, I have had two stints each in the Military Operations and Perspective Planning directorates at the Army Headquarters and as such, I am fully conversant with these issues and the associated sensitivities and nuances. However, at this stage, I would not like to offer any comment on these issues as we (Army HQ) have already forwarded our views to the government and its now for the government to decide.
What are the Army Headquarters’ views?
Our views are classified and therefore, I would not like to talk about these.
On army’s role in tackling left-wing activities?
I am of the view that Army should get employed in internal security situations only as an instrument of last resort, consequent to the optimal employment of state police forces and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). It needs to be remembered that our prolonged employment in such situations impacts adversely on our conventional war fighting capabilities and therefore, is best avoided. We need to continue with added zeal and commitment the training of state police forces and CAPFs to give them the requisite prowess to effectively deal with the internal security situations.
What type of training is being imparted?
We are committed towards training and capability development of CAPFs. Till March this year, the Army had trained almost 70,000 CAPF and State Police personnel including 38 CAPF Battalions in counterinsurgency operations. Approximately 2700 personnel have been imparted counter IED training, 140 newly commissioned Assistant Commandants of various CAPFs have undergone six months attachment with Army battalions deployed in counterinsurgency operations in J&K and the North East and, another batch of 120 officers is presently undergoing attachment. Our endeavour is make these junior leaders proficient in effectively handling their sub units in sub conventional war fighting arena.