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SOURCE: TIMES NOW

With indigenization and integration the only way forward for the armed forces, General Bipin Rawat says, another list of 100 items that cannot be imported but must be bought from Indian vendors is being prepared.  The first 100 is already there and the CDS made it clear that if private vendors in India were given orders stretching to ten years for ammunition and other products, it will be easier for them to plan and produce the arms and ammunition.      

When it came to integration, the CDS made it clear that the primary objective of the armed forces was seamless cooperation: two to three land-based theatre commands were being formed along with an air-defence and a maritime command. Eventually, these theatre commanders would take their orders directly from the chief of defence staff and the army, navy and air force would be responsible for recruiting troops, training them and providing logistical support. The operational tasks– of fighting wars– will not be with the chiefs in the future.

Acknowledging that there was talk about the coming theatre commands would make the armed forces army centric, he said it would not be so. What uniform an officer or jawan was wearing would not be important: an army communication group was working directing with the air force right now, he said. Eventually, there will be an integrated logistics command and a National Maritime Commission, he added.

With requirements increasing, there will never be enough, he suggests. With over a third of the Centre’s capital budget going to defence, there is a realization that radical ways have to be worked out.  

The CDS pointed to three innovative ideas: first, the defence acquisition council or DAC of which he is the seniormost member, apart from the minister of defence and the minister of state for defence, has cleared the purchase of many weapon systems, giving them AON or Acceptance of Necessity status. But many of these weapon systems were outdated or as the CDS said “redundant.”

Secondly, with the government accepting that whatever remained unspent of the capital budget would be rolled over, there would be no need to buy low-hanging fruit, even if they aren’t weapons that are really necessary.

Thirdly, the savings from having a smaller army and therefore, reduced manpower costs, could be returned to the armed forces as capital expenses.