The Army has rejected the demand by a section of its personnel that "non-combatants" should not be posted to field areas, saying the force performs its duties in war and peace as a whole and not in isolated compartments.
At the same time, the Army said the anguish among some of its personnel of service corps (ASC), which provides logistic support, on "discrimination" in their status needs to be put to rest and that "necessary corrections", wherever needed, will be made.
The issue was discussed at the ongoing conference of the top army commanders days after the Supreme Court sought the government's response on a jawan's plea that he should not be posted in operational areas if he has been designated as a non-combatant.
In a statement, the Army said it has mentioned in an affidavit in the Supreme Court that it was never in dispute that all arms and services of the Army are combatants.
"Hence, at no stage has the Army referred to services units being non-combatant units," it said.
A section of the army service corps has been alleging certain discrimination including on emoluments and Chief of Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, after assuming charge of the top post nine months back, had said that he would consider all arms and services on par and assured that they would get their dues.
"The anguish amongst some personnel on discrimination in their status, needs to be put to rest and the Chief of Army Staff has assured that necessary corrections, where needed will be addressed," the Army said.
The Army said it has mentioned in its affidavit to the Supreme Court that the Army performs its role in war and peace as a whole and not in isolated compartments.
"Each arm/ service has designated role and function."
It said to boost its strength during low intensity conflict, counter insurgency operations and on the Line of Control, a number of officers, junior commissioned officers and other ranks from combat support arms and logistic units are posted on tenure basis in infantry 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," it said.
The Army maintained that combat arms, combat support arms and services are its operational entities which have clear and defined roles with charter of duties.
It said it has been the consistent stand of the Army during litigation thatcommanding officers of Army Service Corps, ordnance, electronics and mechanical engineers are not required to largely remain in contact with frontline forces where major combat may take place during operations.
"Therefore, ages of Command of Services could be higher than those of arms, where commanding officers are expected to move forward in the combat zone, where their physical efficiency becomes relevant," the Army said.
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