Indian infantry needs to modernise itself: Lt. Gen Vinod Bhatia, AVSM, SM

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Kunal Biswas, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    “The ‘Best Soldier’ of the world cannot have second best weapon, equipment or clothing. The modernisation process is aimed to harness advanced technologies to enhance the operational capabilities of Infantry across the full spectrum of conflict. There has been development in technology, which has a profound influence in increasing the destructive power of weapons systems in lethality and accuracy, resulting in quick obsolescence of weapons system and calling for periodic upgrading and modernization,” stated Lt. Gen Vinod Bhatia, AVSM, SM, Director General Infantry, Indian Army in an exclusive interview to India Strategic.
     
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  3. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. China and Pakistan have changed tactics of border incursions which have increased the treat perception. Do you envisage a change in the presence, numbers and strategy of the Infantry for combating this?

    DG Infantry. We in the Indian Army and particularly in Infantry are alive to the shift in tactics of our adversaries. And have embarked on a programme for capability development all along our borders. Technology is being exploited to include new generation weapons, target acquisition and surveillance devices for integration of the soldier into the combat network and to enhance his effectiveness to combat such situations.
     
  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. By what percentage is Army planning to increase its Infantry strength? Are there some new battalions which will be raised in the near future?

    DG Infantry. Preparations for meeting the challenges along our borders are an ongoing process and being pursued as part of modernisation of Indian Army. We are shifting the focus from a ‘Threat Based’ to a ‘Capability Based’ force structure. Additional Infantry and new raisings are part of this ‘Capability Based’ force structure.
     
  5. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. What are the steps to be taken by the Indian Army to modernize the foot soldier with the state-of-the-art arms and equipment?

    DG Infantry. Project F-INSAS (Future Infantry Soldier as a System) is operational and we are trying to modernise the infantry soldier. The project has four sub systems namely Weapon, Body Armour and Individual Equipment, Target Acquisition and Computer and Communication. Various cases of procurement have been initiated for weapons and equipment; some important ones being Close Quarter Battle (CQB) Carbine, Assault Rifle, Ballistic Helmet, Bullet Proof Jackets (BPJ), Surveillance and Communication equipment.
     
  6. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. The Indian Army has been successful with its joint-exercises with friendly nation armies. What are the plans for the future additions of more countries to the list of countries for conducting such exercises?

    DG Infantry. As far as Infantry oriented joint training is concerned we have conducted joint exercises with nine friendly foreign countries in 2011-12. These exercises are based on reciprocity with the aim of enhancement of defence cooperation as well as to gain from each other experiences. Our vast combat experiences in counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations is acknowledged by the armies world over. Thus, over the last three years or so there has been manifold increase in the number of joint exercises. We have conducted joint exercises with USA, UK, Thailand, Bangladesh, Maldives, Mongolia and Russia. Maiden exercises have been carried out with France and Indonesia this year and Joint exercise are on the pipeline with countries like Vietnam and Phillipines. A request has also been received from the Malaysian Army for conduct of joint exercise this year.
     
  7. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Please elaborate on the state of the rifles in use and what is the acquisition plan for the new guns? Is the 5.56 sufficient keeping in mind the army was virtually bulldozed to induct in into its Infantry?

    DG Infantry. The 5.56 mm INSAS Rifle is presently the personal weapon issued to infantry soldiers. The weapon needs upgradation and case for procurement of a modern state of the art assault rifle is in progress.
     
  8. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Is the growing role of the Infantry in anti-naxal and CI operations a deterrent to its actual task of protecting the borders?

    DG Infantry. The primary role of Indian Army is to protect and maintain the sovereignty of our country at all cost. The task of controlling the internal security lies with the Police and CRPF.
     
  9. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Is Infantry’s role in Rashtriya Rifles justified?

    DG Infantry. Rashtriya Rifles battalions are responsible for conducting Counter Terrorist Operations in the hinterland of J&K. Infantry though a predominant arm, more than half the strength of Rashtriya Rifles is drawn from other Arms & Services. The deployment of Rashtriya Rifles battalions in the valley has given a relief to Infantry battalions and has certainly eased the deployment of Infantry in operational areas.
     
  10. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. What is your vision on empowering Indian infantry with suitable Network centric operations capacities and what is the time-line you have set for it?

    DG Infantry. The introduction of F-INSAS Integrated Computer and Communication System (FICCS) will empower the soldiers with ability to handle complex voice and data solutions. This will include swift processing and advanced computing functions thereby achieving Network Centricity and reduce the Decision Time for the commanders at all levels.
     
  11. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Have you been able to transform the process of the training and introduce the concept of scholar warrior to make the infantry at par with the best in the world?Q. Have you been able to transform the process of the training and introduce the concept of scholar warrior to make the infantry at par with the best in the world?

    DG Infantry. The training syllabi of recruits has been reviewed and refined recently and we have laid emphasis on their personality development besides IT awareness. Formations and training establishments are conducting courses/ new cadres on weapon systems and equipments which are introduced in Infantry to enable its optimum utilization. We have also taken up case to increase the vacancies at various courses of Instructions so that more men get opportunities to undergo a formal course of instruction. There has been a significant increase in number of joint training exercises with friendly foreign countries and their good practices are also being imbibed. It’s our constant endeavour to further upgrade the skills of our soldiers.
     
  12. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Do the soldiers need to be motivated by their JCO’s and officers to study under the IGNOU scheme? Has this Gyandeep project attracted them?

    DG Infantry. Project Gyandeep is an innovative scheme which was introduced in the Indian Army to empower our jawans by enabling them to obtain higher education qualification. This was done to primarliy enable our jawans who retire comparatively at a young age to secure a better second career option. This scheme was introduced in the year 2010 and it did not find too many takers amongst the ranks. Soon we realised that it was primarily due to sheer ignorance about the knowledge of project Gyandeep that individuals were not forthcoming to register themselves. We then undertook a concerted drive to generate awareness which has resulted in an overwhelming response. No of registration for Infantry has now increased to 1,34,764 from 7,714 in Feb 2010.
     
  13. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Isn’t there a need for the basic qualifications of the infantry soldier to be upgraded?

    DG Infantry.
    The basic qualities desired in an Infantry soldier are high level of physical fitness, mental robustness and motivation to withstand the challenges of life in Infantry. However, with the technological advancement of equipment profile in the Infantry there is a requirement to have minimum education qualification for recruit as Soldier General Duty (GD) to enable apt understanding and handling of the equipment. The education qualification for enrolment of Soldier (GD) was then revised and promulgated in April 2010.
     
  14. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. At what stage is the induction of tactical, strategic and information management systems and other electronic warfare equipment into the infantry?

    DG Infantry. Presently there is no capability in terms of tactical, strategic & information management system or electronic warfare equipment in the infantry. The F-INSAS Integrated Computer and Communication Sys (FICCS) will provide every infantry soldier with the ability to accept and present real time info provided by C4I tools in the near future.
     
  15. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Does infantry have a requirement for guidance through UAVs?

    DG Infantry. The success of any battle would depend to a great extent on acquisition of information about enemy and timely utilisation of own combat power to neutralize him. At unit and subunit levels, dedicated surveillance devices are of utmost importance, since timely actions at contact level have yielded immediate success. We are in the process of procuring the Mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for enhancing our combat potential and to enable the Infantry commanders to perform the operational tasks more effectively and efficiently.
     
  16. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Keeping in pace with changing times do concepts like nation before self and strict discipline motivate the soldier?

    DG Infantry. We all know and it is a proven fact that the Indian Infantry is the most battle hardened and combat rich force in the world. The prime motivating factor is the NAM, NAMAK and NISHAN of the unit and Regiment. The will to fight for his Unit and Regimental Izzat motivates the soldier to make the supreme sacrifice. These aspects are still relevant in today’s scenario and we feel that training both on equipment & leadership leads to confidence and gives the Infantryman courage to face all odds and to follow the footstep of his forefather who had set the traditions of bravery, chivalry and glory.
     
  17. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Have vacancies in the JCO to officer promotion cadre been increased to boost the morale of the troops?

    DG Infantry. There is no provision of promotion cadre from JCO to Officer rank. However, opportunities are available for JCOs/NCO to seek commission as officer in the IA through Army Cadet Corps (ACC), Special Commission Officer (SCO) and Permanent Commission (Special List) entry scheme.
     
  18. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Given the current employment of the Army and looking at the two vital needs of the infantry soldier i.e. his personal weapon and his body armor, what are the plans to make the best available to him?

    DG Infantry. The case for procurement of a next generation assault rifle is already in progress while the General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) for BPJ has been finalised and Request for Proposal for the same is under issue.
     
  19. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. What are your plans as DG Infantry to improve the state of the infantry battalions?

    DG Infantry. The modernization of Infantry is my main concern and key result area. The “Best Soldier” of the world cannot have second best weapon, equipment or clothing. The modernisation process is aimed to harness advanced technologies to enhance the operational capabilities of Infantry across the full spectrum of conflict. There has been development in technology, which has a profound influence in increasing the destructive power of weapons systems in lethality and accuracy, resulting in quick obsolescence of weapons system and calling for periodic upgrading and modernization. Infantry Directorate is fully aware of the requirements of a modern Infantry and has taken a holistic view of the situation. We are constantly working towards the goal of keeping our Infantry in tune with the changing nature of the battle field across the entire conflict spectrum. The modernization process is well underway and we will see an advanced and well equipped Infantry battalion in the near future.
     
  20. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. What are the challenges faced by the Indian infantry today and how can they be minimized?

    DG Infantry. The prevailing geo political scenario clubbed with advancement in technology is the greatest challenge being faced by the Infantry. This necessitates that Infantry has to be prepared to fight in all types of terrain in the entire spectrum of conflict from sub conventional war to an all out nuclear war. The vision is to equip and train the Infantry for the future battle field. The Infantry will continue to perform the role and tasks as hitherto fore, however, the battlefield milieu would change. Therefore, it is our prime mission, that the Infantryman is suitably equipped and trained to effectively execute assigned battle missions.
     
  21. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    India Strategic. Are the conventional and non-conventional capabilities of the Infantry balanced and if not how will they be?

    DG Infantry.
    India has vast borders with differing terrain profiles from Glaciers, High Altitude Areas (HAA), mountainous, obstacle ridden terrain and the open desert terrain, where Infantry will remain the primary decisive arm. Also, the operations will be almost entirely Infantry centric in the enhanced threats of Low Intensity Conflict and hybrid wars as we have witnessed over the years in the North and North East. Infantry has been and will continue to play a decisive role in all such terrains and operational conditions. We have been equipped to carry out these tasks, however, to further empower the Infantry to perform its roles effectively in such an environment, the F-INSAS programme is being progressed and Infantry units and formations are also being Tac C3I enabled.
     

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