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Procurement process hasn’t kept pace with requirements of time: Army chief | India News

NEW DELHI: Calling for a “revolution in bureaucratic affairs”, Army chief General M M Naravane on Tuesday said the arms procurement process has “unfortunately” not kept pace with the requirements of time and left the armed forces lagging behind in terms of modernization.
The 13-lakh strong force has brought about major structural changes in its organization, which includes aligning both the capital and revenue procurement routes under the post of the Deputy Chief of Army Staff (capability development and sustenance), said Gen Naravane, speaking at a webinar on “Transformation imperatives for the Indian Army in the coming decades”.
“But this alone is not enough. Our procurement process unfortunately has not kept pace with the requirements of time. Many procedural lacunae have crept into the acquisition process due to the overbearing nature of our rules and regulations, leading to a ‘zero error syndrome’,” he said.
“The needs of the Information Era Warfare cannot be hamstrung by the procedures of the Industrial Age. The need of the hour is to have a metamorphosis here too, perhaps even doing away with the concept of the L-1 (lowest bidder) vendor altogether. For real transformation to take place, we require a ‘Revolution in Bureaucratic Affairs’,” he added.
Gen Naravane dwelt at length upon the need for the armed forces to induct cutting-edge and niche technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled systems, and transit rapidly to full-scale integration for digital era combat. “Transform or perish” is more relevant today than at any time in the past.
Citing the recent 11-day offensive by Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Army chief said, “We cannot hope to fight and win the next war with legacy structures evolved from the past. Our force structures must be agile, flexible, modular and networked. They should reflect the realities and challenges of the contemporary battlefield.”
The dual requirement of fast-tracking modernization, and simultaneously promoting self-reliance, are indeed challenging objectives for a developing nation like India. “But considering the quick pace of defence modernization being undertaken by our adversaries, we cannot afford to be lagging behind,” he added.

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