Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat has said that the retirement age of jawans in the Army, airmen in the Indian Air Force (IAF) and sailors in the Navy will be extended as it could benefit nearly 15 lakh men of all three armed forces.
“We are soon bringing a policy to extend the service profile of the men (forces nomenclature for troops) and have an increased minimum retirement age,” said General Rawat in an exclusive interaction with The Tribune yesterday.
On being asked if he was looking to cut down the manpower costs as rising salaries and pensions were taking away a large portion of the budget, General Rawat said, “I am looking at manpower costs. Why should a jawan serve for just 15 or 17 years, why cannot he serve for 30 years? We are losing trained manpower.”
Easing fears that this policy would change the age profile of the fighting force, he said that the frontline combatant could be young. “We have an Army Medical Corps, why can’t the nursing assistant serve till 50 years of age?”
When asked about the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, General Rawat opined that the transformation and restructuring is required in the armed forces. “There is transformation required in the armed forces and Covid means it will be done now,” he said.
Responding on another question asked by The Tribune if the target for having joint commands within three years would be achieved by them, he said, “I don’t visualise this going beyond three years. We will have a structure and implementation will start in three years”.
He further explained that at present IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria has submitted a presentation on joint Air Defence Command and things will likely be in place in six months.
“For now, we are moving ahead with joint Air Defence Command, the IAF chief has given a presentation on the matter and in six months we expect to have things in place. This command will have its own doctrine and amalgamate all training and logistic support,” General Rawat said.
He continued to explain that next step would be the maritime command followed by the joint commands. He also informed that the Army is doing a study on joint commands while the Navy on maritime commands. “The office of the CDS has given guidelines and studies will be completed by the year-end,” he said.