Friday, October 23, 2009

Modernisation, staff shortage raised at Commanders' meet




The top brass of the Army and the Air Force on Wednesday held discussions on several issues related to national security, including modernisation of equipment and officers' shortage, at the Commanders' Conference of the two forces held in the Capital.

The four-day conference started a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cautioned the forces that the security situation in the neighbourhood had deteriorated and emphasised on the need for constant vigil.

The conference's first day witnessed a discussion on the modernisation plan that has suffered several setbacks in recent months, particularly due to a ban imposed on seven defence companies following the CBI probe against former Ordnance Factory Board chairman Sudipta Ghosh.

The senior Army officers also discussed shortage of officers, which at present stands at over 11,000, mostly at the entry level of captains and majors.

The need for quick implementation of the A V Singh II Committee's recommendations, which pertain to removing the glut in middle ranks with the creation of new posts, was also emphasised. "Modernisation of hospitals, providing better second career options for soldiers and improving of living accommodation were also discussed," an Army officer said.

For the IAF, the need for speedy modernisation was top on the agenda. Addressing the conference, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik said a "modernisation process that would include preserving, maintaining, upgrading and improving the current assets as well as processing the cases for acquisitions and replacements on a fast track" is being pursued.

Naik said the IAF was making "rapid strides" towards attaining network centricity and the need to be capable of "dominating the entire spectrum of information, cyberspace and air space".

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