Indian Army just celebrated the Infantry Day on October 27. This was the day in 1947, soon after independence, when troops of Indian Infantry landed in Srinagar to defend India from the invading tribals who were supported by the Pakistan Army. Thus this issue is dedicated to the brave soldiers of the India Infantry who have made the ultimate sacrifices while bravely defending India’s borders and are currently facing the China’s PLA on the icy heights of Ladakh.
There are a host of articles on Indian Infantry including the mechanised infantry. The lead article by Lt General Bali (Retd) explains why India has to maintain a large standing army with primarily a ground holding role because of large unsettled borders like the LAC and the LOC. It is therefore logical that the bulk of this army comprises of Infantry.
In the next article, the author Lt General Dushyant Singh (Retd) traces the saga of valour and sacrifice of the Indian Infantry and suggests that the modernisation of the Infantry should be taken on priority.
In another article, Lt General Bali explains the Regimental System and how the various infantry regiments are rooted in an identity based on ethnicity and geographical grouping together of soldiers from similar backgrounds and who speak the same or similar language or dialects.
In another article on the infantry, Lt General Katoch (Retd) traces the evolution of infantry and the role it currently is expected to play. While analysing the situation in Ladakh he feels that China may wage a limited war on India and therefore the Indian Army needs to be constantly on the alert and absolutely not trust their neighbour.
On January 26, 2020, Chief of the Army Staff, General Naravane stated that Army is making efforts to push it’s 10 yearold plan to acquire 2,600 Future Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV) for the Indian Army at a cost of around 60,000 crore (about $8 billion) by 2026-27.Thus there are articles by Lt General P.C. Katoch and by Lt General J.K. Sharma (Retd) on the twists and turns of the decade old FICV programme which is the failure of the process of modernisation through indigenisation.
The requirement of inducting armour on the Northern Frontiers is indisputable as stated by Lt General J.K. Sharma (Retd) in his article about Light Tanks. Given the dynamics of threat and the diplomatic, political and military negotiations to minimise the same, may have given us the strategic space to rearm the Indian Army. It also reported that the army has been given the go-ahead for priority purchase of a light tank which is suitable for mountains and 2S25M Sprut-SDM1 of Russian origin has been short listed. It appears that due the churning in Ladakh, modernisation of infantry including mechanised infantry may be accelerated and hope that it is not shelved as soon as situation returns to normal.
As usual this issue winds up with the News and Appointments.