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In-principle approval given for Army's mega reform initiative

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The top brass of the Indian Army Wednesday gave an in-principle approval to carry out extensive reforms in the second largest standing Army in the world with an aim to enhance its war-fighting capabilities, official sources said.

The decision was taken at a two-day brainstorming meeting of top commanders of the Army which was chaired by Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat.

The sources said the reform may include making various formations as well as divisions "leaner and meaner", transforming the procurement process into a seamless exercise, restructuring of various establishments of the force and possible downsizing of the troops if required.

"The detailed reform initiative will be deliberated upon extensively at the next month's commanders' conference," said a source.

The sources said operations, logistics and procurement wings will witness significant reforms.

They said the Directorate General of Rashtriya Rifles (DGRR), located in the Army headquarters in Delhi, may be moved out.

Similarly, the Directorate General of Military Training may be integrated with the Shimla-based Army Training Command (ARTRAC).

The sources said the top brass of the Army examined separate reports of two committees on reforming the force.

There have been indications that the Army may cut over 1,00,000 troops over the next five years as part of restructuring process. The current strength of the force is around 1.3 million personnel.

The commanders also reviewed the modernisation process of the Army and emphasised on the need to equip the force with new platforms and weapons, the sources said.

The Defence Ministry has already announced a series of reform measures for the Army which included redeployment of nearly 57,000 officers and other ranks as well as ensuring better utilisation of resources.

Under the cadre review, the Army is also looking at abolishing the rank of brigadier, they said.

The sources said the aim of the reform initiative is to ready a larger talent pool for crucial tasks and bringing down the age of those commanding key formations.

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