Army begins projects to archive war histories, completed by April

  • According to the policy, all documents must be declassified within 25 years. Accordingly, all files prior to 1995 will be declassified after being reviewed by a BOO.
  • The policy also called for the formation of a group to compile war histories, headed by a Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Defense and made up of service representatives

According to the Defense Aviation Post, the Army has undertaken two separate projects as part of its effort to archive war histories.

According to government sources, the projects were initiated by the Army Training Command (ARTRAC). The Army War College at Mhow will serve as the project’s nodal authority, and the Delhi-based United Services Institution of India (USI) think tank will serve as the expert body for military history content research.

The first project will be to digitize and archive the army’s military history. While the scanning process started in May this year, the first for declassified content and the second for unclassified content.

Unrated content is content that has never been rated. Declassified content was previously classified, but its status was changed later.

In each command, a Board of Officers (BOO) headed by a Major General Ranking Officer will scrutinize historical content selected for archiving by various units and formations.

“All units were asked to compile historical records regarding their regiments, operations, and battle honors, among other things.” They will then be pre-screened and reviewed by the BOO before being archived.

The second project is to write a military history of the army and design a web page for it. According to sources, the web page has already been designed and work on the historical content is currently underway.

The total cost of the projects is around Rs 45 lakh. While the deadline for the first project is April next year, the second project is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh approved a policy on archiving, declassifying and compiling or publishing war histories in June last year. According to the policy, all documents must be declassified within 25 years. Accordingly, all files prior to 1995 will be declassified after being reviewed by a BOO.

The policy also called for the formation of a group to compile war histories, headed by a joint secretary of the Ministry of Defense and made up of representatives from the services, ministries of interior and external affairs, as well as military historians.

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