Lt Gen Nayanar has an unenviable task ahead of him, and it was summed up well by the man he replaces, Lt Gen KR Rao, in a speech in May: “The induction of 155mm/52 Cal guns, Ultra Light Howitzer, Wheeled and Tracked SP guns are not following the desired pace. But, are we not late vis-à-vis other modern Artilleries? Take example of Smerch that has been in service in Russia since 1990 and we are still inducting it in our Army. The so called modern weapons are, infact, already in the process of replacement in developed countries, whereas we, in some cases are still working on the road map. Such a state is disturbing and most unwarranted, and merits urgent rectification.“
Lt Gen Nayanar faces an obtuse political system that will not listen to operational logic or reason. In many ways, he has the Army’s worst job. What he does have is a straight-talking Chief, who has the guts to speak his mind and look directly at the interests of his men. Let’s hope both men emerge stronger than all of their predecessors. Our gunners deserve that.