Indian generals to overhaul Army

Top commanders of the Army are locked in a week-long discussion to chart the course of their force, change “structure” and create more avenues for promotions. Chaired by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, the conference has kicked off in New Delhi on Tuesday 9 October, as reported by Ajay Banerjee in The Tribune.

Indian generals to overhaul Army
The Indian army is undergoing an overhaul of its commanding structure (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The debates will consider nearly two-dozen recommendations on the proposed cadre restructuring. The recommendations will be placed before Chief, Vice Chief Lt Gen Devraj Anbu and seven top-most commanders. The objective is to have agile field formations, a young profile of officer cadre and a better coordinated Army Headquarters. It will also review the terms of service for Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs). General Rawat is keen to push through the reforms in the 1.34-million-strong Army.

Sources said the key aspect was faster promotion from colonel to brigadier and then to major general. This will include promotion of colonel to brigadier after command (usually at age of 37-38). There will be only one selection board for promotion of colonel to major general. At present, there are two boards. In other words, the ‘pyramid’ of promotions remains as steep. Less than 1 per cent of Army officers make it to the rank of major general.

The recommendations include dissolution of divisional headquarters in peace formations. A ‘re-organised’ brigade (lower than division) will be placed directly under corps headquarters as Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs). This will include infantry, armoured and artillery units. Each will have up to six battalions (an existing brigade normally has three). The IBG will be commanded by a major general. Brigadiers will be only used as staff officers (deputy formation commander) in corps, command and army headquarters.