Measures To Enhance Army’s Combat Efficiency Under Consideration: Jaitley

Various measures are under consideration to enhance the Indian army’s combat efficiency and improve its tooth-to-tail ratio, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday told parliament.

“A committee of experts to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and re-balance defence expenditure of armed forces was set up. Certain recommendations involve enhancement of the tooth-to-tail ratio of the Indian Army and its combat efficiency. These are under consideration,” Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The tooth-to-tail ratio refers to the amount of military personnel it takes to supply and support (tail) each combat soldier (tooth). While an army with a higher ratio will have more personnel devoted to combat, these will lack the support provided by the tail.

On the question of the existing size of the Indian army in the background of China’s reported decision to downsize its army to less than one million, he said: “Force structure of the army depends on contemporary security environment and dynamic geo-political realities so as to ensure its relevance as a formidable force against our potential adversaries.”

In a separate reply as to whether India has inadequate defence power in comparison to China, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said that the government is “fully seized of the security needs of the country”.

“Government regularly reviews the threat perception to secure our borders and protect national interest. Appropriate measures are taken from time to time to maintain/upgrade the country’s defence preparedness along the borders to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of India,” he said.

Bhamre said that the military capacity enhancement and modernisation of armed forces including armament and ammunition is a “dynamic and continuous process” and is done in “consonance with our threat perception”.

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