The issue was discussed during the bi-annual Army Commanders' Conference here, besides a host of other matters including the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission and expansion of the network of Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) clinics.
    
"The issue of increased authorisation of special clothing and special equipment was discussed in detail. This basically pertains to the Northern and Eastern Command," defence sources said.
    
Currently, specialised clothing for soldiers are decided based on the altitude at which they are deployed. A drawback in this scheme was seen when some soldiers suffered frostbite while fighting a group of Pakistani terrorists for nearly two days at Naugam in Kashmir, at a height of about 14,000 feet, in December last year.

The kind of mountaineering boots needed to prevent frostbites at Naugam are available to soldiers only at Siachen, over 15,000 ft.

 "Operation requirements keep changing and hence we need to increase the authorisation so that each soldier is equipped in a better way to fight any eventuality," the sources said.
    
The thinking is that soldiers posted in some other areas will also get Siachen-like clothing and specialised boots. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier raised the issue with the Army after he was informed by some soldiers about the Naugam operation during an interaction.
    
Parrikar had then intervened and fast-tracked the purchase of additional Extreme High Altitude Clothing (for soldiers posted in Siachen and similar terrain) that had been stuck for quite some time.

The Commanders also discussed the issue of expansion of ECHS clinics for easier access for jawans and ex-servicemen. The conference will deliberate major operational, human resources and logistic issues affecting the Army. It is the highest level 'Military Conference' and is held bi-annually to discuss current internal and external strategic issues, review operational preparedness of Army and aspects pertaining to military technology and force modernisation.



 

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