Indian Army to cut 150,000 jobs as force plans to go 'lean and mean'

By RAHUL SINGH | Hindustan Times | Published: September 10, 2018

NEW DELHI, India (Tribune News Service) -- The Indian Army is likely to cut over 150,000 troops over the next four to five years under an overarching cadre review that seeks to sharpen the force's effectiveness and prepare it for future wars, two officers familiar with the move said on Sunday.

The cadre review, ordered on June 21, covers wide-ranging issues including cutting the personnel strength of the 1.2-million strong force and merger of different verticals to optimise its functioning.

An 11-member panel, headed by the military secretary Lt. Gen. JS Sandhu, is carrying out the review and is expected to make its preliminary presentation to army chief General Bipin Rawat before submitting its final report in November.

"Merging of some verticals and rationalising roles are likely to result in cutting 50,000 troops over the next two years. A reduction of 100,000 more personnel may be possible by 2022-23. But all this is in the study phase right now," one of the officials said.

The troop reduction is likely to be achieved through revamping different verticals including directorates at the army HQs, logistics units, communications establishments, repair facilities and other administrative and support areas, the second official said.

Drawing attention to the army's archaic equipment and critical gaps in capabilities, former Northern commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal  said downsizing of combat forces has to be offset against induction of highly sophisticated technical equipment.

"Theoretically, a lot of things may seem possible but you have to get into the realm of practical applications," he added.

Apart from downsizing, the review covers an assessment of the army's future needs, career progression of officers, deficiency of officers in units, career management of non-empanelled officers, provisions related to leaving service, and improving the efficiency and morale of officers.

The ongoing review is examining the possibility of abolishing the rank of brigadier to ensure smoother career progression and also contemplating replacing division headquarters with integrated brigades.
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