Defence Minster A K Antony informed Parliament on Monday that the shortage of soldiers in the Army stood at 32,431 as of September 2011. This massive shortage is on account of the raising of two new divisions by the Army that are positioned in the Eastern sector. The new divisions, one each under the command of the 3 Corps and 4 Corps, required an enhancement of the Army’s personnel strength by 36,000.
As the Army has pulled together resources from its current holdings and formations to set up the new infantry divisions, this has reflected in a significant shortage in its authorised personnel strength, particularly in PBORs that form the bulk of the fighting force.
The Army is now likely to see an acceleration in the recruitment of soldiers and creation of new units, even though the gap will take some time to fill, given the constrains of training facilities as well as institutions.
The new raisings by the Army — cleared in 2009 — are a first in decades and are geared towards increasing its hold over the Northeast and the border with China. The two divisions will be augmented in the coming years with a new mountain strike corps that the Army has been demanding. The proposal is currently stuck as the government has asked for the opinion of the three services before giving it financial clearance.
While the shortages in soldier strength seem to be glaring, the Army has at the same time managed to cut down the gap that had emerged in its officers cadre by over 2,000 over the past two years.
While the shortages in officer levels stood at 12,510 in 2010, Antony informed Parliament that the Army is short of 10,100 officers as of July 2012.
‘54 missing defence personnel believed to be in Pak jails’
Fifty-four defence personnel, missing since the 1965 and 1971 wars, are believed to be in the custody of Pakistan, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Monday. In reply to a written query in Lok Sabha, he said the government has been taking up the matter with the Pakistan government but “it does not acknowledge presence of any such personnel in its custody”. He said a delegation of 14 relatives of these missing personnel visited 10 Pakistan jails in 2007. “However, the delegation couldn’t conclusively confirm the physical presence of any missing personnel,” he said. PTI