By Anupama Airy
A proposal for creation of an Army Technology Leaders cadre has been made to the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat at the Third Annual Technology Seminar of the Indian Army held in the capital.
Mooted by the former Deputy Chief Of Indian Army, Lt Gen Saha, the proposal calls for a cadre of select officers who can combine technology with operational requirements.
These officers he said “should get groomed as they grow in service to provide the critical interface between military-industry-R&D”.
While this proposal was put forward to the Army he said similar cadres should be there for Navy and Airforce.
Gen Saha, who has recently taken over the reins of the Society Of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) as its Founder Director General addressed the gathering at the Army technology seminar and spoke on the Military-Industry Interface in the inaugural session.
The theme for this year’s Seminar was ‘Technology as the Key Enabler to Overcome Challenges of Military Operations in High Altitude’. The Seminar was organised jointly by Indian Army and SIDM.
Explaining the broad outlines of the concept Lt Gen Saha has suggested the following career path for the Technology Leaders Cadre:
– Selection from the pre-commission training academies based on inclination for technology. Here he said, “it is important to make a distinction between technical and technology, as officers from Infantry, artillery or armoured Corps could very well be technologically inclined even though they don’t belong to technical arms or Services.
– The number should be restricted to 25 to 30 officers per batch
– For the first four years these young officers should be posted to all arms (Infantry, Armoured Corps, Mechanised Infantry, Artillery, Air Defence, Engineers and Signals) for duration varying from six months to one year.
– After this initial grooming in different arms, those who are not B Tech, should go through a three year degree course
– After the B Tech they should be posted to the arm of their choice, where they are given the opportunity to command a company/squadron/battery. This should be deemed to be the ‘adequately exercised’ period for consideration by promotion board.
– These officers should now be nominated for M Tech Course. The project work should be allocated jointly by the Service and DRDO.
– On successful completion of M Tech these officers form the pool of Technology leaders who are competent to guide R&D, formulate QRs, do trial evaluations, perspective planning for futuristic technology and so on.
It is essential for services to have their own pool of officers who can combine operational experience with technological expertise.
This competency is essential for the services to keep track of evolving technology and their implications on the battlefield.
With their operational experience the technology leaders would be well placed to even guide research or lead research activities to find smarter solutions to various problems of the battlefield.
The Third Annual Technology Seminar of the Indian Army, ARTECH 2018, was held on 08 Jan 2018 at the sprawling Manekshaw Centre and was a resounding success by any standards.
A technology seminar as part of the Army Day events was started a couple of years ago.
The idea being, “on the Army Day while we celebrate our glorious past we must prepare for a brighter future too”, explained Lt Gen Subrata Saha.
It may be recalled that in 2016-17, led by Lt Gen Saha, Indian Army undertook an extensive out-reach program with the Industry and Academia.
They held 32 Interactions in every industry-academic hub, five equipment displays and four forward area tours for engineers and scientists, leading to release of two volumes of CoPS.
Compiling solutions to the problem statements is a parallel initiative that commenced in October 2017 under his mentoring, co-sponsored by DefenceAviationPost and FICCI.