The Indian Army is the largest land holder in our country, with over a million strong and disciplined personnel, present in the most important biodiversity areas. The Indian Army is the country’s most powerful ally for environmental conservation. The Indian Army has establishments located in different ecosystem and biogeographic zones such as Rann of Kutch, Thar Desert, the length and breadth of the Himalayas, the tropical rain forests of NE India and the Western Ghats.
The very organisational structure, training, motivation, discipline inter-communications and mobility, make the Army ideally suited for environmental protection, when not otherwise employed on the prime task of national security. Serving personnel contribute tangibly to the protection and regeneration of environment in many ways. Armed with the basic knowledge of flora and fauna, Army personnel protect and restore nature and natural resources. Arboriculture of areas in occupation of the Army is centuries old, as a result of which cantonments have very high tree density. The Indian Armed Forces possess over 8.5 million hectares of land, the largest in the country.
The subject of ecology and environment has been given a new impetus by the Indian Army, wherein resuscitation of the degraded ecology and environment has been accepted as part of their role. The Army is poised for a multi-dimensional approach and to that end, the thrust areas are: (a) afforestation; (b) wasteland development; (c) biodiversity conservation; (d) wildlife conservation; (e) garbage management and waste disposal; (f) use of renewable sources of energy; (g) environmental education and awareness; (h) watershed management; (i) rain water harvesting to include rejuvenation of ground water.
Indian Army has laid down a time bound action plan to take further concrete steps towards nature conservation as under:-
1. Incorporate ecological tasks in the annual Training Directive and Training Report.
2. Creation of conservation centre at all HQ Division upwards.
3. Conduct of periodic nature conservation workshops by all HQ Division.
4. Discretionary use of military resources, without compromising security and operational posture.
5. Observation and documentation of nature will be an integral part of all military expeditions and adventure activities.
6. All military areas not in use to be developed as 'biosphere reserves'.
7. Centres for nature conservation.
8. Conduct of nature workshops.
BNHS has been associated with Indian Armed Forces for over four decades through various programmes such as capacity building, green governance awards, wildlife surveys etc.