The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been planning to change the uniform of the Indian Army which will be customized keeping the different terrains and weather conditions in which the men are posted. Sources have confirmed to the Financial Express Online that the material to be used for the uniform has not yet been decided as cotton material was difficult to maintain and was changed to Terrycot which due to extreme weather conditions is not comfortable for the soldier.
Change of uniform patterns is superficial as it has been done several times in the past which only benefits the private suppliers, says a former army general.
Sharing his views with Financial Express Online, By Lt Gen A B Shivane (retd), former Director General Mechanised Forces, said, How you are seen in uniform is a matter of pride, but more important is the ethos of ensuring the dignity and respect of this uniform both within the service and by the government in power.
Thus, while the quality and texture must improve as per operational role and terrain, what is more, important is cognitive and moral domain, Shivane points out.
According to him, over a period of time, lack of transparency and “Lanyard Culture” between combat arms, between combat arms and supporting arms and services have eroded the system. Equal opportunities for growth and fair representation in higher ranks / pso for institutionalized policy decision making must be ensured.
Besides the extreme weather conditions in which the soldiers work and different nature of contemporary warfare, the MoD is also looking at changing how the service stripes are displayed. On the present uniform, the stripes – denoting rank – are placed on the shoulders but there are plans to move it to the front buttons like other armies across the globe do.
Sources have also confirmed that the uniforms of other armies across the globe have been studied thoroughly before the decision to make changes was taken.
To make the soldier look smarter and more comfortable there could be changes in how belts are worn, and also change the colour of the shirt and pants could be changed.
The Indian Army s uniform has been changed three times earlier. Post-independence the uniform of the Indian Army has undergone change three times. The first time was to differentiate the Indian Army from Pakistani Army, followed by another change in 1980 to what was termed as ‘Disruptive Pattern (DP) battle dress.’ This was changed again as it was almost blending with the terrain and was made of polyester and was uncomfortable in the hot and humid weather. And the third time in 2005 changes was made to the DP battle dress, in an effort to differentiate the Indian Army from the uniforms of BSF and CRPF.