This is a very very interesting read on how methodically
the Modi led GOI has gone after select purchases and what they expect of the CDS.
Its a very sensible approach, despite what appears to be the occasional political purchase. https://www.news18.com/news/india/retir ... 91951.htmlRetirement Age of Jawans, Defence Budget & Politics: CDS Bipin Rawat Tackles Key Issues in Exclusive InterviewBasically, govt expects CDS to be a serious post with real responsibilities, not a figurehead
You are one month into your new job as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). What is the one big challenge you are facing? What is that one challenge you did not anticipate?
What I did not anticipate is the pace at which we will have to move forward. I think the government is very concerned that things must move on fast track. I am sure the government presumed that if defence services were asking for a CDS they would have done their basic homework. Therefore, all that the CDS would have to do is move on in what has been done already. But that is not the case, so we have had to start afresh and look at what lies ahead.
We are working on a 90-day or 100-day time frame and thereafter, in the first, second and third year, will identify the areas where we will bring about jointness – in operations, trainings, logistics and transportation. I think the timeline has been set very well and this is the biggest challenge.
Secrecy is paramount, to avoid undue influence or pressure. We've seen this before in other key decisions.
When the post of CDS was announced by the PM everyone said General Rawat would get the appointment. Where you as confident?
I had planned life post retirement. In February, I was to go to the US to meet my sister. I had bought an open ticket in October, now I have lost money on that. I thought since the government has taken so much time in announcing a name for CDS , maybe they want to wait for 6 months, let the implementation committee streamline the mandate and then announce a name. . I have always said I was prepared for retirement after commanding my regiment. That was my ambition. God has been kind…imandaari se kaam kiya to gaadi chalti rahi..
When did you get to know?
On 31st December, the day i was to retire, I saw the news on the TV ticker. But the official call came from the Raksha Mantri.
Forget about 110 MRCA - its unworkable. Expect a second batch of Rafales, and more focus on LCA etc.
We should not look at budget in monetary terms. We need to look at the budget in the management of the finances that are made available to us. I think we need to look at how the modernisation process of the Indian military has to move forward. It cannot happen overnight. If the government was to give you, let us say, two hundred thousand crore rupees today and said, ‘Okay, let us modernise in the next two years’, can we do it? It is not possible because things that we need for modernisation are not available in the open market. It’s not like going and buying bananas and oranges…you’re buying defence equipment. Even the most developed countries which produce these equipment don’t have the numbers that we look forward to introducing in our inventory.
There will be timelines over which you will be buying these things. I think the most important thing is see what you have in the budget, see what your priorities are and make sure that the three services move concurrently with modernisation. It is not lopsided modernisation, that is, one service going ahead leaving the other two services behind. Therefore, if you are going to have all the three services moving forward, the next issue I would like to highlight is, whenever you are procuring equipment, you must always stagger the purchase of all your equipment
For example, if you buy all the tanks that you require in the Indian Army, if you say, ‘I want to get a modern tank or a Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV), and if you buy them over the three years, it will reach obsolescence in the next 15 to 20 years…30 years from now at the same time. The overhaul that will be due will all come at the same time. So I think you have to look at staggered purchases to ensure that the downtime of your equipment is not altogether down in one go.
So basically, the sequential focus on:
1. Ammo + Spares
2. Infantry (BPJ, Guns)
4. AD (Akash, S-400)
was all planned methodically. And now the focus is also on ammunition, hence the private sector.
This is big - the service chiefs state they are ready today
So this issue of how to manage the budget…yes, budget can be managed. But we need to prioritise. In the last two to three years, we prioritised on purchase of equipment that we needed for infantry, we looked at artillery systems because artillery systems after Bofors had not been procured. And we said, ‘okay, this is high priority’. We looked at some of the obsolescence that had reached in the air defence systems…so we prioritised that.
When we started prioritising, we said, ‘okay, we’ve got the equipment and weapons, but where is the ammunition?’ What use is the weapon system, with the manpower available, if you don’t have the ammunition? So we decided to prioritise the procurement of ammunition.
I am happy when I hear from the service chiefs, ‘we are ready today’. What does it mean? They are ready today because they have something in the arsenal in stock. But when we prioritised, we started buying these weapon systems, we started buying the ammunition… something would have to take a hit. So what did we do? We made sure we went slow on our married accommodation project and construction of infrastructure…I’m not saying roads, I’m talking about headquarter buildings and accommodations for various other institutes and establishments.
Rationalizing penny packet land parcels and getting state govts/central to pay back in infra - basically moving infra spend off the Armed forces budget
We went slow on these. We have not done anything of these kind in the last two to three years. But can we continue with that over the years? Therefore, we are working with the government to say, can we, for the married accommodation project and for the infra development, find funds from other means? Let me tell you, the Ministry of Defence has helped us in this regard. We are now going to adopt the New Moti Bagh model for building married accommodation houses and for the infrastructure development that we need the money for. Our aim is to get around Rs 35,000 crore over the next eight to 10 years to meet the requirements of our map and infra-development. That is how we are going about it. It is not from the defence money. WE MAY MONETIZE SOME PART OF DEFENSE LAND. Some of the land that is required for national construction effort, like National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) wants something or the state government want some land for development projects…we have that land available. We can give that land to those people, and instead of and that, we go in for infrastructure. That will help us with that problem.
Are you proposing to sell the defence land and downsize cantonments?
We are not selling defence land. For example, the Bharatmala roads (a central government scheme to build highways) are coming up, national highways are being developed. A very large number of these national highways go past our military stations, cantonments or defence land. When we give this land away, say instead of giving us money, which may or may not come to us, it is better you give us infrastructure in lieu.
We also find that a large number of our cantonments are in isolated pockets. We’ve got small pockets of land which have been given to us in various places. We do not need this land. For example, in Nagpur where we are now stationed, there are small pockets of land…half acre here, one acre there…we don’t need that land. This land is certainly going to be given away to the state government if it wants and take infrastructure in lieu.
What does ‘taking infrastructure in lieu’ mean in this context?
We ask state governments to evaluate the cost of land that we want. Once we know the cost of the land, we tell them, one house for a jawan costs us Rs 20 to 22 lakh and we need these many houses, so you build them for us…
... Read the rest.