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Work to reinforce image of Army: Bipin Rawat tells top commanders

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-04-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday reminded top army commanders about the “strong image” of the force and called for efforts to reinforce it further, comments that came amid outrage in Kashmir over the controversial “human shield” video.

General Rawat was speaking at the army commanders’ conference, which deliberated on an array of issues including the evolving security situation, modernisation of the force and logistical difficulties for troops in conflict zones.

In his address on the opening day of the three-day conference, defence minister Arun Jaitley hailed the army for effectively meeting “national challenges”, in an apparent reference to its anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir. He complimented the army commanders, saying “Whenever the challenges multiply or their nature changes, Indian Army has always outperformed itself”, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Jaitley also said modernisation of weapons and other critical systems for the army is the government’s “top-most” priority. The conference will deliberate in detail on the prevailing security scenario, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, besides “strategic” and “actionable” issues to ensure effective combat edge over adversaries. “He (general Rawat) observed that Indian Army continues to hold a strong image and a professional reputation. He exhorted all ranks to endeavour to further strengthen the same,” the Ministry said.

The video, showing a man tied to an army vehicle purportedly as a shield against stone-pelters during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by election, has triggered a public outcry prompting civil and army authorities to launch separate investigation. The army is contemplating whether to order a Court of Inquiry into the incident.

The conference is likely to deliberate extensively on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The army commanders’ conference is an important event in the planning and execution of various key decisions relating to the country’s security and strategic interests.

The issue of Non-Functional Upgrade (NFU) also figured during the deliberations. There has been demand for implementing NFU in the armed forces. Under the NFU scheme, officers in central group A category get automatic time-bound pay promotions. Pay hike under NFU scheme are independent of organisational requirements and vacancy. Issues relating to operational preparedness and logistics for field commanders were also discussed at the conference.

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