The Indian Army is working towards ensuring that it has more manpower available for operations and related tasks by picking out troops from one of its services.
The Indian army is working on a new model that involves combining the strength of the sole supply company of a second line transport battalion of the Army Service Corps under a division and a supply depot in peace stations. The supply company and the supply depot provide supplies to an army division and the brigades under it in both peace and field locations. The combined strength of the supply company and depot is about 200 troops, officials explained. While the supply work in a peace station requires about 100 men, the remaining 100 can be utilised in operational tasks, officials explained. This model is currently operational at the Mamun cantonment in Pathankot and in Kalimpong, West Bengal.
Army has ordered a study to examine if it can implement the model in all peace stations by reducing the combined strength of the supply companies and depots to 100 and optimise the remaining manpower for operational deployment. The study will be reviewed by Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat in a month’s time.
The concept came up because in peace stations it is mainly the supply depot which carries out the task of providing supply cover to the division, and so a supply company has a lesser role to play. This leads to underutilisation of manpower and duplication of effort. The situation arises because the workload is less in peace stations as compared to in the field, where the same setup exists. In field locations, both the supply company and depots are used, because the formations are located at far-off places.
“So in peace stations, we are looking at combining the strength of a supply company and a supply depot, which comes up to about 200 personnel. But as only 100 men are needed to handle the work in a peace station, the remaining 100 can be used in other tasks. This will ensure that there is more manpower for operations,” an official explained.
Officials added that the study for this model is in line with other studies to restructure the army into a leaner and meaner force that is able to take on future challenges.