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Army wants CAPF, police forces to refrain from wearing Army pattern combat dress

ANI | Updated: Feb 26, 2020 20:55 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 26 (ANI): Concerned over certain Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and State Police personnel wearing army pattern combat dress on February 23 during a protest, Army sources on Wednesday said these forces must refrain from using uniforms with such pattern.
Over a period of time, CAPFs and State Police forces in India have started wearing combat uniforms, which are just slightly different from the ones worn by the Indian Army personnel, they said.
These minor variations cannot be distinguished by most civilians giving them the impression that personnel wearing such dresses in cities and towns of India while engaged in Internal security duties, escorting VIPs, on policing duties, static guard posts etc are Army personnel, they added.
The Army sources said the events in our country these days are under constant domestic and international media glare due to the rising stature of the nation.
"Wearing of combat dress by CAPFs and State Police forces may be misinterpreted as the Army being deployed for the internal security duties and elections. This may have an adverse impact on our image as a vibrant democratic Nation and would be detrimental to our national interests," they said.
Accordingly, Indian Army from time to time has brought to the notice of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in order to approach the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) about the increasing trend of CAPFs and State Police forces wearing combat uniforms similar to the Army pattern.
In 2004 the issue of CAPFs and State Police forces wearing Army pattern combat dress for routine policing tasks including election duties was raised citing that such practice needs to be arrested, as it may create misplaced perceptions amongst the Indian public and international community that the Army was being employed for policing tasks during elections and law and order situations. In this regard, MoD had taken up a case with MHA and accordingly MHA had also issued an advisory to all CAPFs not to wear Army pattern combat dress.
In October 2012, then Union Home Minister during the Security Review Meeting of the Combined Unified Head Quarters held in Srinagar, had agreed to Army's contention on the need to reduce visibility from Jammu and Kashmir and directed that CAPFs should not wear Army pattern combat uniforms and CAPFs and State Police forces vehicles should have a distinct paint which could distinguish it from Army vehicles.
The issue was repeatedly raised with the MHA through MoD between August and December 2013 and the violation of these instructions was intimated by Army HQ duly supported by a photo folder highlighting instances of CAPFs and State Police wearing Army pattern combat dress.
In January 2015, the Union Home Secretary presided over a meeting of all Director Generals of CAPFs to resolve the long outstanding issue of wearing of Army pattern combat dress. During the meeting, the Home Secretary queried DGs of CAPFs on the need for wearing combat uniform across the nation and directed all concerned to give concrete proposals within a month to resolve the issue.
Post the employment of Army in aid to the civil authority during the Jat agitation in Haryana in 2016, the issue of CAPFs and State Police wearing near similar Army pattern combat dress was again raised. It was highlighted that to distinguish themselves from CAPFs and State Police forces, in order to have the desired impact of the last resort, Army columns had to carry placards. The same was not desirable and could have been avoided in case CAPFs and State Police forces were wearing a distinctly different pattern/colour uniform.
Another issue is of open sale of Army pattern clothing and accoutrements in markets, which leads to misuse by anti-national elements and other private security agencies. The issue has been raised repeatedly by the regional formations with the civil administration during various civil-military liaison conferences. In 2016, comments on the regulations for the restricted sale of Army uniforms as proposed by the MHA were recommended to be promulgated. However, no formal direction on the issue has been received so far.
The Indian Army has now again written to DMA/MoD, dated February 24, 2020, requesting MoD/MHA to issue following guidelines for immediate implementation:
The combat dress should not be worn by CAPFs pan India while being employed to handle law and order situations as also while being deployed in urban areas affected by terrorism, as the surroundings do not demand such a requirement.
Use of distinctly different (both in colour and pattern) disruptive dress by CAPFs and State Police forces should be restricted only to employment in jungle terrain in LWE affected areas.
The Bullet Proof Jackets (BPJs) cover most parts of the torso. Hence, the BPJs of CAPFs and State Police forces should be of plain Khaki colour and not of combat colour.
The sale of Army pattern clothes in the open market needs to be regulated. Private vendors in the open market should establish identity and maintain a record of personnel to whom the Army pattern clothes (including accessories and accouterments) are being sold, as proposed by MHA on March 31, 2016. (ANI)