Indian military should avoid too many changes with the China threat present

The Indian Army will embark on an exercise aimed at changing some of the country’s iconic legacies, including customs and traditions, military uniforms and even the names of some units. The military needs to grow in sync with the changes in the society of which they are a part. In that context, it is appropriate for the Army to want to bring about some change.

These proposed changes are part of a series of changes starting in 2019. These changes can be ranked according to their content.

The most significant change is the establishment of the Office of the Chief of General Staff of Defense to unify the Indian army as a cohesive fighting machine. Against this backdrop, General Bipin Rawat of the first CDS envisaged four integrated theater commands, each under a single operational commander.

It has been almost ten months since General Rawat died in due time but the GoI has not yet replaced him. This naturally leads to questions about whether the most substantive, disruptive reform expected in independent India has been well thought out.

Another significant change is expected is the creation of a non-volatile fund for the procurement of weapons. The Finance Committee eventually approved the idea. But GoI has yet to work out the details.

Partially affected by the inflated pension bill, this year’s GoI has continued with the Agnipath Scheme. Initially, it caused frustration in several key watershed areas and also sparked a fierce debate among many veterans. This scheme, however, is above course.

All these changes are being made as India confronts the most severe revisionist regime in generations that China has ever had. Since 2020, China has made an active move to move the LAC westward. India’s military commanders this week identified China as a clear danger to national security.

With that in mind, the Indian Army should avoid any internal changes that are more disruptive than it is now, which could trigger another debate about the character of the military among the parties involved.

It is prudent to focus exclusively on the fundamental changes already outlined. It should start at the earliest with the appointment of a new CDS for viewing via built-in theater commands. Icon changes may come later.



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