Indian Army to have soldiers’ grievances officers
Indian Army is all set to deal with the grievances of serving soldiers with the local civil administration by introducing the concept of “soldiers’ grievances officers” (SGOs). As per the proposal these officers would be dedicated junior commissioned officer (JCO). The officers will actively deal with the issues of soldiers and their families pertaining to local civil administration and will also accompany them to concerned civil offices if required. The move specifically aims to keep the soldiers and their families stress-free. SGOs would work under the supervision of higher authorities in the Indian Army. The move comes from the desire of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to ease woes of the soldiers and is primarily based on the concept of Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer Major Navdeep Singh to keep soldiers stress-free during deployment, an idea by former Army Chief General VP Malik. The move will boost their morale by assisting them in addressing local grievances, improving their mental health profile which would ensure higher concentration on military tasks in return. Times and again successive defence ministers have highlighted that soldiers feel helpless when they are unable to resolve local and domestic issues causing frustration and stress amongst soldiers. As per the concept, a graduate JCO would be designated as an SGO in each area headquarters, sub-area headquarters and station looking after an earmarked zone. These SGOs can be directly contacted by soldiers or their dependents with identity proof to resolve their grievances related to local civil administration. The process would include minimal red-taping and the SGO would be authorized to personally visit the concerned authorities in uniform. The SGO should inform higher military authorities in case of any difficulty. As per the concept, a single SGO helpline number would be introduced in future that will be subsumed with a mental health helpline for military personnel that is still on cards. The SGO system is designed in manner that it would efficiently utilize the existing manpower and resources.
Arjun tank’s advanced version hits target
Main battle tank (MBT) Arjun Mark-1 ALFA underwent through a firepower demonstration at Pokharan field firing range in Jaisalmer district. The capabilities of the advanced version of Arjun were tested in various parameters in the desert area. Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) along with combined vehicles research and development establishment Chennai has indigenously developed the tank. The new advanced version comes with upgraded firing system with automatic fire control system guided missiles. DRDO has upgraded 14 features in the tank to fulfil the Army’s requirements. The upgraded features strengthen the firing capacity of the Army. It includes an improved gunner’s main sight, integrated with automatic target tracking. With this, tank crew will be enabled to track moving targets automatically and engage them while the tank itself is moving.
Warship delivers medical supplies to Lakshadweep
An Indian warship carried essential medical supplies from Kochi to Lakshadweep. Indian Navy ships under Headquarters Southern Naval Command at Kochi have begun the mission of Oxygen Express to provide assistance to the local administration of Lakshadweep. INS Sharda, based at Kochi transferred medical supplies to the capital Kavratti. The consignment consisted of 35 oxygen cylinders, personnel protective equipment (PPE), Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) kits and other items to fight the pandemic. From Kavratti, the ship marched towards Minicoy island to disembark oxygen cylinders and medical supplies. Moreover, Indian Navy hired vessel Meghna took 41 empty oxygen cylinders from Lakshadweep for refilling at Kochi. Indian Navy has reserved 10 beds at INHS Sanjivani, Kochi for patients from Lakshadweep to make for the shortage of beds at the islands.
India looking forward to step-up military assistance for Afghanistan
In the backdrop of the US troops withdrawing from the war-ravaged country, India is most likely to step-up military assistance and training to Afghanistan. In a meeting between Army Chief General MM Naravane and Afghan Ambassador Farid Mamundzay, efforts to enhance bilateral defence cooperation were discussed. The Afghan National Defence & Security Forces (ANDSF) have built up great strength over the past 20 years. Still it requires timely support to build capable, professional and self-sustaining security forces. India is concerned over countries like China and Pakistan exploiting the vacuum created in Afghanistan after the exit of the US forces. India has always supported “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” national peace and reconciliation process. Over the years, India has supplied military hardware such as four Mi-25 armed helicopters to Afghanistan along with training thousands of its military personnel in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence gathering, military field-craft and information technology. In his statement released last week, CDS General Bipin Rawat said that it should be ensured by the international community that with the withdrawal of the US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, a space for other disruptors is not created. This he said because Afghanistan is rich in natural resources and some countries might want to exploit those for their own benefit without extending the same to the country or its people. He stressed that Afghanistan should be for the Afghans.
DPSUs procuring oxygen generation plants on fast-track mode
Amid surging cases of coronavirus in the country, various Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) are procuring oxygen generation plants under “fast-track mode”. This will help bridge the supply demand gap of the oxygen as hospitals are facing acute shortage of medical oxygen. DPSUs such as Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, BEML Ltd, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd and Mishra Dhatu Nigam (MIDHANI) are involved in procurement of Oxygen Generation Plants. These will be provided to local government hospitals in different states. DPSUs and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) are providing support to the civil administrations in their fight against coronavirus pandemic. HAL is working on a war footing to provide ventilators and oxygen cylinders to various cities. The OFB is providing COVID care services at their facilities in 25 places across various states. Over 65 % of the existing strength of the OFB has been earmarked for the COVID care.