New Delhi: After recent soldier-officer stand-offs
in two key units deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, a concerned Indian
Army chief General Bikram Singh Wednesday said the 1.13-million
force has been asked to focus on "getting back to the basics".
Gen. Singh told reporters here that the endeavour now was to
ensure the climate in the army units remained "conducive for
growth and cohesion" of the personnel.
"It is nothing else but back to basics," he replied when asked
about the troops clashing among themselves and the measures taken
to prevent such occurrences.
"As you know, we have had one or two incidents and these are
aberrations...they were isolated incidents. Three incidents...one
in 2010 and two in recent months," the general noted.
The recent violence involved 16th Cavalry regiment in the Samba
sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Aug 8 when soldiers and officers
clashed over the reported suicide of a soldier.
Earlier this year, soldiers and officers of the 226 Field regiment
clashed during a field firing training at Nyoma in Ladakh, very
close to the Line of Actual Control with China.
In 2010, the incident involved the 45 Cavalry regiment when they
were deployed in Gurdaspur, Punjab.
"As a chief, my concern has been to ensure that we get back to
basics, we ensure that the climate, the environment is correct,
conducive to growth and cohesion, and the core values of the army
are upheld," Gen. Singh said.
"That's why, wherever I go, I have been talking about the core
values of the army...integrity, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless
service, courage, honour...these are some of the values I have
spoken about and the endeavour is basically to ensure that the
climate in all units is conducive to growth and cohesion. That's
what I am looking at," he said.
The army chief admitted that shortage in the officers cadre --
about 10,100 vacancies at present -- was "one of the main reasons"
Army units are functioning with half the officers' sanctioned
strength. Most battalions have just about 10 officers, where the
officers strength needed is over 20.
"Yes, that's one of the main reasons...deficiency of (number of)
officers. As of now, we have (vacancies of) about 10,100 officers
at the moment. The deficiency is impacting the units," he said.
Regarding the two recent clashes, Gen. Singh said the court of
inquiry are to be concluded and once the findings are made
available to him, necessary measures would be instituted.
"Based on that, we will look if the management of the units is up
to the mark and the aspirations of the soldiers and all personnel
are fulfilled in a correct manner," Gen. Singh added.