Two days from today, the Army will celebrate Army Day with the Chief of Army Staff taking the salute at the customary Army parade in the Delhi Cantonment parade ground with much fanfare. The same Army Day parade contingents will form a dominant part of the annual Republic Day parade on 26 January on Raj Path, Delhi’s most iconic road that links Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
But behind the impressive display of soldiers and war fighting equipment at these two monumental parades continues an unsatisfactory story: A disappointing and worrisome story of underpreparedness, deficiency and obsolescence. This sordid state of affairs has been in perpetuity since long and nothing tangible seems to have been done to reverse this negative state of affairs.
Consider the following: A staggering 68% of the Army’s equipment is of vintage category against the norm of one-third vintage, one-third current and one-third state-of-the-art category. Instead, the Army’s equipment is officially calculated at 68% vintage, 24% current and only 8% state-of-the-art. No wonder the Army had to go on a quick and fast buying spree for certain specialised equipment to execute the five simultaneous retaliatory strikes on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control. Read more