NEW DELHI: As tense and fierce as the 72-day Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese troops was, the experience itself, which threatened to snowball into a full-blown conflict, prompted the Indian Army restructure its headquarters.
Getting word that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were in the process of building a road in the disputed Doklam area in Bhutan, the Indian Army rushed its troops to help its friendly neighbour and all-weather ally.
Concerned over reports of the Chinese build-up in the disputed terrain, the Indian Army tapped into its ground intelligence to source information. However, what not many know is that in the midst of this tense, eyeball-to-eyeball standoff, the Army headquarters in New Delhi was also busy collecting critical feedback from the field commanders based on which it revised its operational priorities and requirements.
And, in what is being seen as a fallout of its engagement with its field assets back then, some significant changes have been made to streamline the decision making process and fix accountability under the leadership of a new Deputy Chief of Army Staff.
Situated at the tri-junction between India, Bhutan and China, Doklam is seen as a disputed territory between Bhutan and China. In an escalation of tension in 2017, India, in a show of support to its all-weather ally, objected to China building a road in Doklam and rushed its troops to the area, resulting in a bitter standoff.
The summary report of the Indian Army’s biggest restructuring exercise has reference to the ‘Doklam Experience’, as it weighs in on the issue of ‘of Capability Development and Sustenance’.
Based on the report and field inputs, the Army completed a four part study on restructuring its HQ, reorganizing the forces, cadre review of officers and enhancing the colour service of soldiers. The aim is to transform itself into a more lethal force to meet the desired offensive and defensive capabilities of modern warfare.