New Delhi. 12 October 2017. During the Army Commanders Conference the issue of services being non-combatants was discussed. Some personnel from Army Service Corps (ASC) have expressed apprehensions that since they are non-combatants they should not be considered for posting to field areas. It is highlighted that Army in its Affidavit in Supreme Court has mentioned the following:-
To boost strength essential in Line of Control, Low Intensity Conflict, Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist environment a number of Officers, JCOs and Other Ranks from Combat Support Arms and logistic units are posted on tenure basis in infantry (Counter Insurgency/ Counter Terrorist units). This also provides much necessary operational experience to these Officers, JCOs and Other Ranks. It is submitted that their performance in such roles has been noteworthy.
Army performs its role in war and peace as a whole and not in isolated compartments. Each Arm/ Service has designated role and function.
Combat Arms/ Combat Support Arms/ Services are operational entities of Army which has clear and defined roles with charter of duties. Further, without diluting the role played by Services in maintaining logistic support to Combat Arms during operations it has been the consistent stand of the Army during litigation that Commanding Officers (COs) of ASC, Ordnance and Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) are not required to largely remain in contact with front line forces where major combat may take place during operations.
Therefore, ages of Command of Services could be higher than those of arms, where COs are expected to move forward in the combat zone, where their physical efficiency becomes relevant. It was never in dispute that all arms and services are combatants. Hence, at no stage has the Army referred to Services Units being non-combatant Units.
In addition Chief of Army Staff on assuming the appointment had mentioned that he would consider all arms and services at par and they would get their dues that they deserve. Some aberrations, if these are being perceived by any particular arm or service are being addressed during the Conference.
The anguish among some personnel on discrimination in their status, needs to be put to rest and the COAS has assured that necessary corrections, where needed will be addressed.