India has started revamping its army, and as a first step, the Defence Minister has okayed reorganisation of the army headquarters with more significant stress on combating corruption and an empowered body to address human rights issues.
The decision of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced setting up a unified command for the three wings of Armed Forces headed by the Chief of Defense Staff.
“….After the formation of this post (Chief of Defence Staff), all the three forces will get effective leadership at the top level. The CDS system is a very important and compelling task in our dream to reform the strategic pace of Hindustan in the world,” Modi said, during his address to the nation of Indian Independence Day on 15th August.
Singh has given his approval to set up an independent Vigilance Cell directly under the Chief of Army Staff, with the inclusion of officers from the Air Force and Navy as well. Currently, the vigilance function is handled by multiple agencies.
Besides safeguarding the territorial integrity of the nation, the army is also deployed in regions of unrest in the country, especially in its northeastern region and the restive Jammu and Kashmir. Often, complaints of violations of human rights by army personnel emerge from these areas. The allegations range from mass killings, disappearances, torture, rape and sexual abuse.
The army will have a Human Rights Body to address complaints more effectively and transparently, and the Vice Chief of Army Staff will head it.
Singh also ordered 206 senior officers to move out of cosy postings at the headquarters to field units and formations to optimise its operational capabilities.
India is currently fourth on the Global Firepower Index. It spends about $ 55.2 billion for its defence, next to the United States and China. India has the second-largest standing army in the world. It has already embarked on the modernisation of its infantry and is also upgrading and acquiring technologically advanced military assets.