Critical Indian Army Posts Still Missing After 2017 Doklam Face-Off With China

After the Doklam standoff near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in June-August 2017, the Indian army has raised the issue of creating important posts that are needed for seamless coordination between different functions including operations, plans, and logistics in the time of a major border crisis.

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TOI reported that their sources said objections by the defense ministry’s finance wing have slowed down the approval process for the posts of Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Strategy) or DCOAS (S), even as the ongoing military confrontation crossed a 100-day mark last week.

The Indian Army has raised the issue with defense minister Rajnath Singh as “operationally required and revenue-neutral”. It means that creating these new posts don’t need additional financial or manpower requirement.

“The DCOAS (S) post was to be created in lieu of another Lt-General post, the director-general of Rashtriya Rifles, which the army has already suppressed (done away with),” said the source.

According to the plan that was discussed, DCOAS (S) was to have the director-general of military operations (DGMO), military intelligence (DGMI), operational logistics (DGOL), perspective planning (DGPP), and information warfare (DGIW) under him at the army headquarters. 

The need for this was realized during the Doklam standoff when heavy weaponry, infantry battalions, tanks, artillery, and missile units were moved to the border.

Currently, an “ad hoc steering committee” helps in dealing with the crisis. Personnel from different verticals are brought in the group to advise and deal with the emerging situation. It has personnel from branches of operations, intelligence, logistics, coordination, and perception management. 

Now, with the deteriorating border situation with China, it has so far refused to disengage in Pangong Tso and Gogra as well as reduce the military build-up despite several rounds of diplomatic and military talks.

The creation of the DCOAS (S) post is part of the overall restructuring strategy recommended by one of the four studies conducted in 2018 with the aim to create a lean, rapidly deployable, and operationally adaptable force.

In addition, the existing post of DCOAS (planning and systems) was supposed to be transformed into DCOAS (capability development and sustenance), with all capital and revenue acquisition under him at the Delhi headquarters. Likewise, the DCOAS (information systems and training) was supposed to transform into DCOAS (information systems and coordination).