The Ministry of Defence at South Block in New Delhi | Commons
The Ministry of Defence at South Block in New Delhi | Commons

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New Delhi: Lieutenant General C.P. Cariappa has taken over as the Master General Sustenance (MGS) of the Army — a new position that has been introduced as part of a series of reforms carried out in the force headquarters over the last year.

This week, Cariappa became the second officer to assume the role of MGS after Lt Gen S.K. Upadhya.

The post was created to replace the earlier position of the master general ordnance (MGO). The MGO was a principal staff officer (PSO) to the Army chief. However, the MGS now comes under one of the three deputy chiefs of the force.

Moreover, new posts have been created in the Army HQ over the last year while some positions have been subsumed as part of the revamp. The makeover was initiated by former chief Gen. Bipin Rawat, who is now the Chief of Defence Staff.

The plan is to eventually reduce the number of officers deployed in the HQ to 1,203 from 1,332 earlier — including the Army chief, and introduce better and faster decision making process.

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New profile for two deputy chiefs

While the Army had two deputy chiefs earlier besides the vice chief, there are three deputy chiefs now.

The earlier rank of deputy chief (Planning and Systems) has now been amended to deputy chief (Capability Development and Sustenance). This officer now takes care of all capital and revenue procurement. The rank is currently held by Lt Gen. Shantanu Dayal.

The MGS position comes under this officer now. While director general (DG) of Ordnance and Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) used to come under the MGO earlier, these positions now report to deputy chief CD&S.

The various directorates like the DG Infantry, DG Armoured, ADG Mechanised Infantry, DG Artillery and DG Air Defence also come under the same umbrella. Moreover, the DG War Equipment has now been rechristened as DG Capability Development. The rank now comes under the Deputy Chief CD&S.

Deputy chief (Info System and Training) is the other deputy position to be amended. It has been rechristened as deputy chief (Info Systems and Coordination).

Army HQ functioning and info systems — like the DG Signal, DG Info System and DG Staff Duty matters — come under this officer.

New deputy chief post created

A third and new post of deputy chief strategy has also been made at the Army HQ. The first officer to take over this position is Lt Gen Paramjit Singh Sangha.

According to Army sources, this is one of the most important changes carried out in the rejig.

The director general of military operations (DGMO), which was earlier a PSO rank, now reports to the newly-created deputy chief.

Along with the DGMO, the DG military intelligence, DG operation logistics and newly created vertical of DG information warfare will report to the deputy chief strategy.

Changes in vice chief secretariat

Changes have also been made in the vice chief secretariat with the creation of a new post — ADG Human Rights, who will report to the vice chief.

The post of ADG Vigilance is also being created, and will come under the Army chief.

ADG international cooperation also reports to the vice chief.

The DG Financial Planning, who used to earlier report to the erstwhile position of deputy chief of Planning and Systems, now reports to the vice chief.

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MS and E-in-C remain PSO

The changes have not affected the positions of the military secretary and the engineer-in-chief, who continue to be PSO to the Army chief.

The military secretary takes care of all posting and movement related matters in the 13-lakh-strong force while E-in-C takes care of all engineering related aspects.

DG Rashtriya Rifles becomes ADG

Another significant change has been the re-designation of the DG Rashtriya Rifles (Lt Gen rank position) to the ADG level (Major General rank officer).

The DG rank was subsumed to create the position of the new deputy chief, which is a Lt Gen rank.

The Rashtriya Rifles ADG is now based at the Northern Army Command as earlier opposed to the Army HQ.

The Directorate General of Military Training has also been subsumed into the Army Training Command. Its Lt Gen rank was used for the creation of DG Information Warfare.

Impact of the changes

According to Army sources, the series of changes have streamlined the functioning at the headquarters.

“Now both revenue and capital procurement comes under single head. The training issues also comes under one head rather than two earlier. Also, all operational related matters like the DGMO and the MI come under one head than earlier when they used to report to multiple heads,” a source said.

A second source said these changes have also substantially increased the quality of inputs that is generated for the Army chief and vice chief.

“The deputy chief (strategy) is able to give a more concrete and holistic input to the vice chief and the chief because various critical operations related directorates now report to him,” said a third source.

It’s a similar case for the other deputy chiefs too, the source added.

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Former Army commanders laud changes

Lt Gen. D.S. Hooda, former Northern Army commander, welcomed the changes, saying they streamline a lot of issues.

“All operational related matters are now under one head which is the new deputy chief (strategy). This is a very good initiative. Similarly, streamlining the procurement process under one head is also a welcome change since the office handling it now gets the complete picture. This was not so earlier because while revenue expenditure was looked after by the MGO, the capital procurement was looked after by the deputy chief (P&S),” he said.

He also welcomed the introduction of DG Information Warfare, saying this was an important step and rightly brought under deputy chief strategy.

However, while most officers the ThePrint spoke to welcomed the changes, a former high ranking officer who has served in the Army HQ said the deputy chief CD&S has been given a lot to handle. This is because the position now has the additional responsibilities of the erstwhile MGO.

Former Western Army commander Lt Gen K.J. Singh, who has served in the Perspective Planning Directorate, lauded the changes, saying the “name of the game is convergence”.

The reforms trace their origins to the tenure of former Army chief Gen V.K. Singh, who had initiated studies to make changes, he said.

“What happened in between, from the time of Gen V.K. Singh to now, is that the turf centrality of the Indian Army prevailed. Nobody wants to lose an appointment or power. The changes that have now been initiated are forward looking,” he said.

Also read: How this Indian Army officer rescued Sheikh Hasina & family from Pakistan Army captors in 1971


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