1. It gives me immense pleasure to greet you on the 64th Army Day. I also take this opportunity to convey my best wishes for a very happy and prosperous 2012 to the entire nation. As the Army of this great nation, we reaffirm our pledge to our countrymen, to preserve security and safety of the nation whilst upholding our secular & democratic values.
2. True to the pledge we have undertaken, your Army has tirelessly and consistently performed with selfless dedication and making supreme sacrifices. In 2011,11 offrs, 8 JCOs and 46 men have achieved martyrdom in operations to uphold the security of our nation. We have lived upto our image of being the first responders in all natural calamities like earthquake of Sikkim and flood relief ops in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand & UP. Also in two major railway accidents we have rescued our civil brethren in UP & Assam. To assist the pilgrims to Sabarimala, we constructed a bridge for them. We have also undertaken infrastructural projects in the remote corners of Ladakh & NE states, which would provide the much needed succor & security for the population.
3. In the field of sports, our men made significant contribution by winning 112 medals in the 34th National Games, two bronze medals in Military World Games and five of them have qualified for London Olympics. Our mountaineering team has successfully climbed the yet unsummitted peak Mt Manaslu 8163m in Nepal while another team is planning to reach the North Pole this year.
4. We are not only contributing to our nation but also to the UN to provide assistance to countries where UN forces are deployed. Till date, we have contributed to 44 missions out of the 69 launched by UN. Presently, we have deployed 7239 personnel in seven UN missions worldwide and are the third largest contributor of troops to UN. To keep our flag flying in the international arena, we have undertaken Joint Exercises with technologically advanced Armies like US, France & UK to address issues of CI/CT, amphibious & special operations under a UN mandate. We have also been involved in military cooperation in our friendly neighbourhood.
5. As you are aware, I had laid down certain goals for myself based on my vision. I had aimed to bring down the level of violence in states affected by insurgency, transform the Army into an agile, lethal and networked force and modernise our Army to meet future challenges. We had carried out detailed studies to establish concepts for transformation and then test bedded these concepts to establish their validity for implementation. We have achieved the following thus far: -
(a) Improved the efficacy of Army HQ by reorganizing it. Further reorganisation is in progress.
(b) We are in the process of reorganizing our logistics to be more responsive & structured for envisaged future operations.
(c) We are presently testing the feasibility of theatrisation of combat support.
(d) We are changing the way we train and have brought in newer concepts to ensure a “systems approach” in training.
(e) Based on our studies & their validation we are progressing well towards achieving network centricity and jointness with other Services.
6. We had also given impetus to the process of modernization based on an integrated plan since last two years and to meet all our financial budgetary targets. Our major thrust areas of modernization include: -
(a) The Army is being equipped with a battle field surveillance system for enhanced battle field transparency.
(b) A decision support system to connect the entire Army is in the process of testing.
(c) A command & control system for Air Defence has been developed and is to be tested shortly.
(d) To aid the tactical decision making and enable our soldiers to operate in jungle, mountain, plain and deserts, an information system at tactical level is being developed. We are also working towards enhancement of capabilities in night operations.
(e) We are progressing in acquiring deep strike capability on all fronts. BRAHMOS and PINAKA systems are being inducted into our forces.
(f) Our mechanised forces are well on their way of modernisation. We are inducting Arjun MK II tanks while commencing the indigenous production of T 90 tanks.
(g) To aid surveillance we are inducting more UAVs and state of the art radars.
(h) To improve our capabilities of surveillance from air and tactical air transportation we are going ahead with replacement of our old Chetak/Cheetah fleet of helicopters.
7. Since all the equipment is dependent on human resources for successful employment in operations; we are sincerely working towards improving our human resource capital by upgrading our existing training establishments and creating new ones to train our junior leaders. To ensure that our soldiers in peace are able to stay with their families, we are also developing more housing projects. By declaring 2011 as the ‘Year of Disabled Soldier’ we have been able to implement a number of schemes to assist our brave soldiers who have been disabled. Project Gyandeep has provided certificates/Diploma/Degrees to JCOs/OR to empower them. To encourage our sportsmen we have granted Honorary rank to Lt Col MS Dhoni, Lt Col Abhinav Bindra & Maj Deepak Rao. To boost re-employment for veterans, we are expanding the Defence Security Corps.
8. I would like to reassure our country men that Indian Army is ever ready to safeguard the nation against all adversities and uphold our strong democratic values. In the year 2012, we hope that our transformation and modernisation would progress further as planned and we would be able to take on all challenges facing the nation to the best of our abilities.