Tackling staff shortage in Army is collective responsibility

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Chandrapur, Maharashtra, Feb 29 (UNI) Tackling the shortage of officers in the Indian Army was collective responsibility of the force, government and society, Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) Lt Gen M L Naidu today said.

Speaking to reporters after formally accepting the first batch of the fully indigenous Pinaka rockets on behalf of the Indian Army at the Ordnance Factory at Bhadravati, near here, Lt Gen Naidu said effort to tackle the shortage of about 12,000 officers had to be made by all.

There were a lot of plans to make up the shortage, since no single strategy would suffice, he said. The shortages were mostly in the junior ranks of the force, since they were younger and more dynamic, Lt Gen Naidu said. ''Officers, who have put in 17 or 18 years of service, are unlikely to quit. We should not be so worried about it,'' he said.

Asked if he found the trend of army officers joining the private sector on lucrative salaries, the VCOAS said in either place, they were all serving the nation in the end. ''Nobody should grudge any individual a good job as long as it is in the service of the nation,'' he said.

Lt Gen Naidu said there had been no incursion across the border by China. ''There is a differing line of perception between China and India as to where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was. The impression (that China has encroached into Indian territory) is erroneous,'' the VCOAS said. Contrary to reports, there had been no build-up of troops on either side of the country's border with China, he said, adding: ''We have a peace and tranquillity agreement. It is holding.'' Pointing out that the border between India and China had not been demarcated, Lt Gen Naidu said talks were on to resolve the issue.

''Once there is an agreement, the border has to be transferred to the ground. This will take time, and I cannot say when it will happen,'' Lt Gen Naidu said.

Replying to questions, Lt Gen Naidu said the decision on appointing the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) had to be made by the government. The three wings of the armed forces had done a great job of joint operations so far, he said, adding that the decision on CDS would be made in 'due course of time.' UNI AB OBB RL ND1732

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