New Delhi, Sep 19 - 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 for troubles.
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 - officers. As of now, we have - 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.