NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Defence is exploring the possibility of converting Army’s logistics and transport units into the Territorial Army (TA) as part of a larger manpower optimisation plan. The TA is also actively recruiting Chinese language interpreters for border personnel meetings (BPM) and cyber security experts to support the Army’s operations.
The decision to convert logistics and transport units into the TA is currently in the deliberation stage. This move is expected to have significant financial implications, as it would help reduce the government’s growing burden of pay and pensions. As part of the broader transformation of the Army, various initiatives are being considered to optimise manpower, including bringing in veterans with specialised expertise on a contractual basis for training institutions, cross-skilling technical trades, and outsourcing several services at static units. The downsizing of elements in both combat and combat-support arms of the Army is planned for implementation in phases over the next five years.
The TA plays a crucial role in relieving the regular army of static duties, such as road opening and protection of communication lines. TA units are used for specific roles, including disaster relief and maintenance of essential services. This allows able-bodied and employed citizens the opportunity to serve their country by wearing the uniform.
According to sources, five interpreters have already been hired based on their proficiency in spoken and written Mandarin. These interpreters have been deployed at forward locations where border meetings with the Chinese take place. The hiring process began in January, with induction occurring in August this year.
Additionally, the Army is in the process of recruiting cyber security experts, pending final sanction. The Army plans to induct five to six cyber experts initially on a trial basis once the sanction is obtained, with hopes of receiving approval by the end of the month. Currently, around 14 battalions are engaged in counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism roles in the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources also informed that several TA units have been deployed in Ladakh, where they are responsible for safeguarding lines of communication and critical border infrastructure managed by the Border Roads Organisation.