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    India Sends 57,000 Non-Combatants to Combat Zones in Army's First Restructuring

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    Indian Defense Ministry aims to curtail ever-increasing expeditures on manpower while modernizing its arsenal through procurements.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India is resizing its Army in a phased manner, the first move of its kind since Independence. Acting on the recommendations of a high-level committee, the union government has approved a plan that seeks to close down several noncombatant units and redeploy the personnel in combat units with the twin purpose of enhancing warfare capability of the Indian Army and rebalancing defense expenditure.

    ​The committee headed by Lt General D B Shekatkar (retired) had made ninety-nine recommendations out of which sixty-five have been chosen to be implemented in the first phase of defense reforms to be implemented in all respects by the end of 2019.

    While establishments like the Indian Army Postal Services will be shut down in peace zones, the major reorganization will take place in the signal corps handling communication, engineering corps and the logistics handling ordnance corps. "Implementation has begun with the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Security to close 39 military farms in a time bound manner," a Cabinet note said.

    "There are several far reaching recommendation such as do we need military farms at all? Do we, with modern technology availability, need a separate postal department? With regard to technology now, the different signal establishment? These are the series of recommendations which have been accepted today and the net effect of this is that this will lead to redeployment of 57,000 officers, JCOs and other ranks for various other functions as per the requirement of the Army. It is far reaching change," Arun Jaitley, India's Minister of Defense said in New Delhi.

    Indian defense ministry is of the view that the addition of new equipment does not mean a corresponding rise in personnel strength. The government had set up the committee in 2016 following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the Combined Commanders' Conference in December 2015 wherein he said, "Modernization and expansion of forces at the same time is a difficult and unnecessary goal."

    The Indian army is the third largest in the world with over 38,000 officers and 1.13 million soldiers. For the financial year starting April 2017, the Narendra Modi led government earmarked approximately $13 billion for defense purchases which is 1.56% of the projected gross domestic product.

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