Monday, June 09, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: A Reflection by Admiral Arun Prakash on Veterans, Honour, Political Antipathy and the 6th Pay Commission

It is LiveFist's privilege that former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash has asked us post this new and typically insightful essay, a column from the May edition of FORCE magazine. A word -- this is probably one of the most measured pieces I've ever read on a subject of which most of us are currently bombarded with opinion. An absolute must read. (The article was first published as the Admiral's column in FORCE magazine, though he was kind enough to send it directly to us for use on LiveFist):

IS “IZZAT-O-IQBAL”?
by

Adm. Arun Prakash (Retd)

The country-wide demonstrations by ex-Servicemen (ESM) on 26th April and 7th May 08 to protest against the 6th Pay Commission report, were, by all accounts, conducted in a dignified and orderly manner; and that is exactly how it should have been. Now one hears some talk of a “hunger strike” by ESM, but it is my fervent hope that this will not come to pass.

I have a nagging feeling that by these uncharacteristic and extraordinary gestures we, the ESM, have diminished ourselves in the eyes of our countrymen. One can just visualize people who have never had the privilege of wearing uniform or of serving the nation’s tricolour, smugly saying to themselves: “We always knew that their attitude of soldierly discipline and fortitude was only a facade. Deep down they are just like any of us.”

I am aware that these remark are likely to upset many of our Veterans who, despite advancing years, are going to great lengths to make a dramatic gesture on behalf of their comrades-in-arms. To them, let me just say that my criticism is directed, not so much at their actions, as at the insensitive and callous system which has driven them, in extremis, to such an unfortunate step.

An Ungrateful Nation?

In civilized nations the world over, the soldier, sailor and airman – and more so the Veteran – is an object of spontaneous respect, affection, admiration and the highest public esteem. These sentiments are made manifest by the people and the government of a grateful nation, in countless ways, in thought word and deed. There are monuments celebrating victories, statues of military heroes, war memorials for those who fell on the field of battle, avenues and squares named after soldiers and concessions for Servicemen in every sphere. Above all, Servicemen receive warm respect, affection and consideration from the general public as well as the media. None of this exists in India today.

I have no doubt whatsoever, that in cities like London, Paris, Washington or Moscow the dismal spectacle of Veterans reduced to “demonstrating” in public to ask for their dues, would have wrought agony in their countrymen. The citizens of New Delhi, God bless them, chose to ignore this “cry from the heart” of old warriors. The media, otherwise so intrusive and inquisitive, and so proud of their “independence” almost completely blacked out this significant gesture by the Veterans. The one TV channel which planned to air a related programme chickened out at the last minute. We can only speculate about the reasons for the media’s sudden coyness.

From Major Som Nath Sharma who died fighting the Pakistani tribals in Badgam in 1947, to Captain Vikram Batra who laid down his life in the icy wastes of Kargil in 1999 there is a long Roll of Honour which lists the heroes and battle-casualties of the Indian Armed Forces. Just reading about their exploits of valour and self-sacrifice is enough to give one goose pimples. It is the inspiration provided by such brave men which motivates our Armed Forces to great heights of dedication and commitment to the motherland. But does anyone else in the country remember their sacrifice? Or care?

Not even a decade has passed since Tiger Hill and Tololing were won back by our soldiers in the face of intense enemy opposition at a horrific cost in lives. But our citizens do not have the time to even light a candle in memory of those who fell in Kargil, or a hundred other battles, because their adulation seems to be reserved exclusively for cricketers, cine stars and politicians. One often wonders if patriotic young soldiers should be shedding blood for the safety and well being of a society as ungrateful as ours?

“Izzat-O-Iqbal”?

Let us not be fooled by the razzmatazz that economists are feeding us about India’s 9% GDP growth, or get carried away by the fabulous salaries offered by MNCs to young IIT and IIM graduates. As Indians, let us instead firmly bear in mind that 400-500 million of our brothers and sisters still survive on less than 40 rupees a day. I personally think that within the means available to the nation, the Armed Forces, and most of the ESM are paid enough. I say this without prejudice to the perfectly justified protest of the Armed Forces against the insidious manner in which the IAS has been steadily propelling itself upward to their detriment.

Really, it is not the money that bothers us. What the Serviceman and the Veteran find inexplicable and galling is something altogether different. They wonder why there has been a steady and continuing erosion in the soldier’s position and status in society while the responsibilities, hardships and hazards of soldiering have grown over the years.

Apart from their crucial role in defending the nation against every threat and calamity, the Armed Forces are making a vital contribution to the country’s social fabric. It is they who have promoted the ideals of integrity, discipline, professionalism and excellence, sadly lacking in every other walk of life. In the midst of prevailing chaos, the Armed Forces have remained an embodiment of order and discipline, and have faithfully upheld India’s secular and democratic traditions. There just isn’t any group, organization or set of individuals which has sustained the integrity, security and stability of the Indian state, with the steadfastness and loyalty demonstrated by the Indian Armed Forces.

Is it then surprising if the Soldier agonizes over the fact that in spite of his huge contribution to the nation, his Izzat has been deliberately denuded by vested interests, and Iqbal denied to him by his countrymen?

I do not claim to have answers to the Soldier’s dilemma, but I think that the issues involved have assumed such importance that they need to be examined in some depth. Let me place before the reader, four factors which I think have contributed to the steady and ongoing erosion of the soldier’s image, and the degradation of his status in Indian society, with consequential effects.

Political Antipathy

Mahatma Gandhi’s firm adherence to the noble principle of non-violence throughout India’s independence struggle has no parallel in history. He was a great man with profound values, but misinterpretation of his unique vision led to the emergence of two surreal perceptions amongst India’s political leadership.

For one they were convinced that since a non-violent India would have no enemies, the armed forces would become redundant after independence. Their second conviction was that the Indian Army was a mercenary force which had been used as a tool by the British to suppress the freedom movement, and deserved to be shown its place. They were utterly wrong on both counts, and such myths need to be demolished, because a man in uniform can today sense the cognitive lack of empathy, if not antipathy, to his cause in the in the political establishment of all shades.

Major General KM Cariappa (later the first Indian Commander-in-chief) called on Gandhiji in December 1947 and sought his advice on how he should put across the concept of ahimsa to his soldiers whose dharma was to fight for the nation. The Mahatma pondered over the question and replied: “I am still groping in the dark for the answer. I will find it and give it to you one day.” A month later he fell to an assassin’s bullet, and Cariappa never received an answer. But by then the first of our illusions had already been shattered in October 1947, when Pakistani hordes came pouring into Baramulla and it was only the Indian Army’s gallantry which saved the Valley.

The politicians were right that the British Indian Army, true to its salt, had served the King-Emperor loyally in both World Wars. But after the string of early British defeats in WW II, Indian prisoners of war (PoWs) in Singapore, Germany and Italy were confronted with the most awesome moral dilemma that a soldier can ever face; a choice between the oath they had given to the King and the chance to fight for freedom of the motherland, being offered by Netaji Subhash Bose.

After agonizing over this veritable dharma sankat and fully recognizing the terrible consequences of either option, many Indian officers and jawans decided for their motherland, with the result that:

3000 Indian PoWs were formed into the Legion Freies Indien or Free Indian Legion as a unit of the German Wehrmacht.
A unit named the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan was formed out of Indian PoWs in Italy.
40,000 out of 45,000 PoWs in Singapore joined the Azad Hind Fauj or INA as it was commonly known..

The story of these expatriate Indian warriors is a romantic but forgotten chapter in India’s freedom struggle. Suffice it to say that the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (Provisional Government of Free India) formed in Singapore by Bose in 1943 declared war on the British Empire, and the INA units fought a bitter campaign against them in Burma with “Dilli Chalo” as their inspiring slogan.

In early 1946, ratings of the Royal Indian Navy mutinied, and the insurrection spread right across the country, with units of the RIAF, Army Signal Corps and EME joining their naval comrades in revolt. These events not only inspired and galvanized the freedom movement in India, but also struck fear into British hearts. General Wavell, the C-in-C admitted in a secret report: “It is no use shutting one’s eye to the fact that any Indian soldier worth his salt is a Nationalist…”

Disciplined Services never dwell on mutinies, regardless of the cause, and that is why these events rarely find mention in our Armed Forces, but the powerful impact on the British Sarkar of these acts of great moral courage, must not be disparaged, belittled or forgotten. So anyone who says that the Indian soldier did not contribute to India’s freedom movement is either ignorant or deliberately suppressing the truth.

The phase immediately post-Independence too, was extremely difficult for our fledgling nation. To forget the sterling role played by the Armed Forces during the violence and turbulence of partition, and in integrating the recalcitrant princely states would be an act of rank ingratitude. Over the years, as our glaring strategic naiveté repeatedly led to adventurism by our neighbours in 1947, 1962, 1965 and 1999, it was invariably the gallantry and patriotism of the Armed Forces which saved the nation from disintegration and dishonour.

The Bureaucracy Strikes

From many post-Independence historical accounts it appears that the politician possibly felt not only ill at ease with the soldier, but also disdained the “military intellect”. This was an ideal situation for the civil servants to exploit to the hilt.

Although the British had devised a workable interim organizational structure for the divided Indian armed forces, it fell to the bureaucracy to work out the nuts and bolts, and to implement it. Showing the Armed Forces “their place” was simple for the mandarins of the Indian Civil Service (ICS). Possibly holding out the spectre of a military coup to the gullible politician, and deliberately misinterpreting the principle of “civilian control”, they created a structure which suited them ideally, and brought the Armed Forces under bureaucratic control.

In the UK the Navy, Army and Air Force were then run respectively by the Admiralty, the War Office and the Air Ministry. Each of these were ministries, headed by a Minister of Cabinet rank designated by convention as the “Secretary of State for…” and often referred to as just “Secretary”. In India the ICS created a unique structure with a “Ministry of Defence” composed of a number of Departments, manned exclusively by itinerant civilian generalists, and headed by a bureaucrat of Secretary rank. External to the MoD and subordinate to the Department of Defence they created three “Attached Offices” one each for the Army, Navy and Air Force HQs.

So at one fell swoop, the bureaucracy had:

* Placed the Service HQs well outside the Government of India, whom they could only approach through the MoD.
* Effectively subordinated the Service Chiefs to decision-making at the lowest rungs of the MoD, since every file “submitted” by the Service HQ had to be routed bottom-upwards in the MoD, starting at Under-Secretary level.
* Kept the Service Chiefs and the Defence Minister safely distanced from each other.
* The political establishment of the day was probably informed that the affairs of the Services were being run by a Secretary, “just like in the UK” and they must have been relieved to have the bureaucracy manage complex defence matters for them. The military leadership of the time was probably too naïve and inexperienced to even realize the iniquity of the system imposed on them. The feeble noises that we have made thereafter, have naturally fallen on the deaf ears of the IAS bureaucracy; successor service to the “heaven born” ICS.

No one seems to have pointed out the fact that in the best and oldest democracies of the world, “civilian control” over the Armed Forces is best exercised by the simple expedient of having the head of the Armed Forces (be it a CDS, Chairman Joint Chiefs or Chef d’Etat Majeur) as the right hand of the President or the Prime Minister, and charged with rendering advice on strategic/military matters.

The Damage Inflicted by Media

Possibly the greatest damage to the public image of the Armed Forces as well as to their self-esteem has been inflicted by the Indian media. This predatory beast finds, in the Armed Forces, instant gratification and tremendous payback for very little effort. They see an institution, and a set of people who set for themselves, extraordinarily high standards of conduct, and when accused of misdemeanor, react with pain and anguish. What can be more satisfying for the slavering media hounds?

That their uniformed victim is bound and gagged, and unable to respond, is even better for them because he can then be maligned with impunity for the sake of mindless sensationalism. Regrettably, many of the young media-persons are neither well informed about the Armed Forces, nor do they undertake serious study of the subject.

It is for this reason that one rarely sees serious, well-researched and thought provoking articles on defence matters. On the other hand it appears that every trivial issue relating to the Armed Forces has to be either a sensational “scam”, “cover-up” or “serious embarrassment”, otherwise it is perhaps not considered news-worthy by the editors. The hostile attitude of the media towards the only institution in the country which undertakes quick investigation and fixation of accountability, and metes out swift justice is inexplicable.

Today any disgruntled person, vested interest or even agent of a foreign power can entice the India media with the promise of a “defence scandal”, and they will happily proceed to malign the Armed Forces. Neither the good name and reputation of its leadership, nor morale of the rank and file of the Armed Forces, nor indeed any concern for the truth are matters of slightest concern for the irresponsible journalists or their arrogant editors.

Having done their best to denigrate the nation’s Armed Forces in the public eye, the media will then report with great glee, the number of unfilled vacancies in National Defence Academy and Indian Military Academy. Need the Armed Forces look any further? The enemy is within.

The Inner Discord

Such is the power of Jointmanship, that whenever the Chairman COSC has occasion to use the phrase, “the three Chiefs are of the view…” whether in writing or verbally, all obstacles in the MoD and elsewhere tended to melt away. Unfortunately, there are not too many instances when this phrase can actually be used.

Disagreements between the Chiefs on professional issues will take place, and can be resolved in the COSC room, but it is discord among the three Services more than any other factor that is exploited to the fullest by the political establishment and the bureaucracy, and which has led to the devaluation which we lament today. On any difficult issue taken up by the Armed Forces the attempt by the MoD will be to strike separate bargains with the Services and defuse the issue.

So if the Services keep sliding down the Warrant of Precedence, or one rank one pay is denied to ESM, or the War Memorial is kept in limbo, the Services have only their own disunity to blame.

This is a subject on which volumes could be written to the delight of our detractors, and therefore need not be discussed here. In the context under discussion, suffice it to say that a sea change can come about, if the Service Chiefs, placing the larger interests of the Armed Forces above all other considerations, jointly request the government to take forward the process of integration to implement the following at the earliest:

A full time Chairman COSC who can devote 100% of his time to common issues affecting the three Services, and then spend as much time as required in pursuing them with the Government.

Actual integration of the Service HQ with the MoD (the current term “Integrated HQ of MoD” is a complete charade), so that civilian and uniformed functionaries can be deployed interchangeably in the Ministry.

These are by no means magic mantras and will neither end discord nor bring harmony into the Services overnight. But they are the first steps to ensure that the Armed Forces speak with one voice and thus protect themselves against exploitation.

The 6th Pay Commission

I come finally to the burning issue of the day, the 6th Pay Commission, because the Internet is rife with disinformation today.

Setting out at great length, the historical and contemporary reasons for his request, on 12th April 2006 the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) wrote a letter to the Raksha Mantri (RM), seeking his “…personal intervention for the appointment of a Service Officer as a constituted member of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, likely to be announced shortly.” The letter went on to remind the RM that, “…while the first two Pay Commissions were dedicated exclusively to the Armed Forces, from the third CPC onwards, the emoluments of the Armed Forces became just one more issue to be examine, but a lack of Service representation was perhaps one of the main reasons for the dissatisfaction expressed by the Services post 5th CPC award.”

Four weeks later, on 16th June 2006, the Chairman followed up this letter with a reminder, forwarding the names of three serving and two retired officers as possible candidates, with the request that, ‘the RM may like to have the panel vetted by the MoD in order to select the best qualified candidate” to serve on the 6th Pay Commission.

During frequent discussions that took place in the three months that remained to him as RM, the Minister did convey to the Chiefs that he was experiencing difficulties in convincing his cabinet colleagues regarding this issue, but expressed optimism that he would find a way for the CPC to receive a direct input from the Services.

It is a tradition in the MoD not to respond to any communication from the Service Chiefs in writing, and therefore the Service HQs will have no record of what transpired within the MoD. However, a letter from the Chairman COSC has to be placed on file and discussed at length between the bureaucracy before a recommendation is made to the Minister. At this juncture, only a request to the MoD under the RTI can bring out the record on file, as to what the MoD recommended and why this request was denied.

The fact however remains that for the sixth time in succession, the Armed Forces remained unrepresented on a Pay Commission. The resulting unhappiness amongst the Services and the ESM was a foregone conclusion.

Conclusion

Bitterly recounting poetic verse about soldiers “slighted” or “ignored” by an ungrateful nation is not going to stir many consciences in India. Also one cannot help having serious reservations about public protests through the medium of marches, dharnas or hunger-strikes by ESM. Whether they have the desired impact or not (many states imposed Section 144 in affected towns) such displays of “trade unionism” will erase the last distinction between the proud ethos of the Armed Forces/ESM and the rest; both in our own minds as well as in the minds of our countrymen.

It is rightly said that there is nothing easier than for Veterans, free of any responsibility, to render advice to their serving comrades from the safety and security of retirement. Therefore, having drawn attention to the factors which need to be tackled by the Services with resolve and unity, I shall refrain from adding anything further.

Except to quote a few lines from the autobiography of General Lord Ismay, in the hope that they will be read by those at the helm of the nation: “A country may have powerful armed forces, led by brilliant commanders; it may have statesmen of great competence; it may have immense wealth; it may have industries which are most efficiently run; but unless the statesmen and soldiers at the summit work together in a spirit of mutual esteem, the essential coordination will be lacking, and there is bound to be deadly waste of blood and treasure.”

General Ismay should know; he was Churchill’s Chief of Staff, confidante and alter ego right through World War II.

** “Sarvatra Izzat-O-Iqbal” is the hybrid Sanskrit-Persian post-Independence motto of the Regiment of Artillery, which means: “Honour and Esteem Everywhere”.

©Text Copyright & Courtesy FORCE Magazine

48 comments :

Anonymous said...

WHO THE FUCK HAS ASKED THESE FAUJIS TO COME AND JOIN THE ARMED FORCES IF THEY ALWAYS THINK OF MONEY YA....BLOODY THEY COME HERE OF THIER OWN ACCORD, AND THEN START COMPARING WITH THE CORPORATE SECTOR...WHY DONT THEY GO OUT AND START BEGGING ON THE STREETS WITH A BEGGING BOWL....BLOODY BEGGARS...

And all this talk about honour, and dying for teh country is all bull-shit...they take it as any other job, and come here for an easy life...these faujis should be arrested for being paid and doing nothing.....the corporate sector is making revenues, adding to the profit of teh company, thats why they are paid like that, not for nothing and this non-productive sector called defence, is bloody good for nothing.

And Shiv how much money has Adm Prakash paid you for this campaign??

If you've got a raise then why dont you just stay out of all this and being from a non-defence background as it is you know nothing dude!!

Anonymous said...

welcome article by the admiral. thank you.

Cmde RS (retd)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous, Your callous and improper comments actually prove that you are an idiot and possibly conceived by your mother after an orgy.

It is these faujis that are keeping your sorry ass safe from loving embrace of a paki mullah. It is these same faujis that have given their today for our tomorrow. If you cannot understand that, then I am just sorry that your mother did not discard you before birth or just after - that would have saved valuable resources.

Corporate sector is there only as long as the fauji is there. No fauji = no corporate sector = your mother, sister, daughter and wife in Heera Mandi pleasing your many fathers.

Anonymous said...

AP has hit the nail on the head as usual in his inimitable articulate way. if those with as much of a sense of honour as AP can hold such grievances about the system, then i am afraid there definitely must be something very wrong with it. a concerted effort is called for to rectify the situation before mutinies or certain doom. i am in the private sector and i am totally with my brothers and sisters in the defence services. jai hind. best wishes, prasad,.

gagan said...

beautifully written and heartfelt. i hope real changes take place. i agree that the last distinction between services and civilians is being destroyed by these hunger strikes and unionism.

Surjit said...

Arun has been candid and forthright. I was once asked during a TV interview as to whether there is a danger of a mutiny. I said, "No. But what I fear is far worse. Officers may lose their professionalism. They may turn their energies to the stock market or real estate and misuse service resources. We may then end up in having an military which may not respond when called upon to do so"
Surjit

Anonymous said...

Admiral & equivalent, a post only 3 in our country can achieve in the Defence Forces, & who has access to the nation's sensitivity & security, does the utmost to ensure that nation's sovreign interests are secured. His appointment is not a joke & a detailed analysis of an ongoing problem amongst the Services to be slighted & commented upon with vulgar language by some "Nutty" character is gross misuse of the liberty provided by the Internet.
Wish the person concerned had the basic decency of atleast using proper language, it only reflects on his upbringing & polluted mind.
Kudos to Arun Prakash for his analytical & thought provoking article. Everyone concerned in the ESM would benefit if the pluses of the Admiral's article are used to strengthen their cases.
Our ESM fraternity, of which he is a part of & a real valuable member, is thankful for his lucid views.
Distractors cannot take away the vital importance of the article.

Anonymous said...

anon@12.49pm. GO and spend an hour in kashmir along with the soldiers of india. you will definetely shit a truck load!
Dont pass comments sitting in your cosy homes and earning fuc### IT dollars or rupees!

Anonymous said...

last anon and the one in the third comment....I've stayed in Kashmir in the middle of militancy, not just for a day but longer and have done things you cant imagine....and by the way, let me apprise you that Commanding Officers take money and let in militants as they are under pressure to show kills to their superiors....and why do you forget the various tent, egg, ration, petrol scams worth crores which are taking place in that your very own Kashmir?

How and where do officers get time to do all that, when they are indulging in feats that would make shit a truck load...aren't those officers your own brothers-in-arms who indulge in all that??

And me and my mom have nothing to do with Heera Mandi, but looks like you have a lot experience , only then could you know about it...maybe you went there to find out who your real father is/was, as even your mother couldnt tell, as she didnt know !!

Anonymous said...

unfortunate to see some profane comments on such a fine article by adm arun prakash. i served at HQ WNC when he was C-in-C and always known him to represent nothing but the best of naval traditions. the diabolical way in which his good name was dragged through the mud by a particular news magazine for no good reason is still a matter of shock and deep anger for many of us who have were proud to see adm prakash rise to lead our navy forward. having served under him i can tell you frankly that i would never have expected him to voice his emotions in such a passionate manner as this article shows. as someone has mentioned in an earlier comment, it only goes to prove two things. one, how strongly he feels about the subject, since he is never know to talk/write about anything he is not directly passionate about. and two, that the state of affairs on what he is writing is truly in need of desperate measures and solutions. i hope the mandarins of south block can see through the cob webs of babudom and their plush lives and read this article by the adm. it is everything short of a call to arms. bravo, sir!

Anonymous said...

Time some one requested it - Shiv, please clean off the unwanted comments above..

The article is one of the best I have seen from any writer/commentator. I don't agree one/two of the ideas (am a Tolstoy fan). But the effort gone into making an impartial and comprehensive analysis is astounding! Amazing article. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article.

Anonymous said...

i hear adm prakash is still engaged by the government for advisory on strategic issues. if this is true, i totally understand why. a man of real vision, fairness and transparency.

Anonymous said...

The first comment has indeed been written by a complete BASTARD

Satish Bahri said...

A very fine article. Should be read by all who are concerned about the welfare of their Country.

My feeling is that the Armed Forces are being picked on because they are one of the few organisations who are concerned about their Country.Our politicians and the bureaucracy are
only interested in committing rape, murder, and filling their coffers. Take the strength of officers in the entire Bureaucracy in the country, they will be a fraction of those in the three Services. But compare the number of crimes of rape, murder, espionage and corruption amongst the civil servants. They will be many times over those in the Services. We have our Ketchup Colonels and Boozy Brigs & Gens but
we punish the guilty swiftly. On the other hand the politicians & bureaucrats are protected by their colleagues under one subterfuge or the other. To hell with the Country and the "Aam Admi"!

The aim of insulting & emasculating the Armed Forces to such a degree is to enable these people to have a free run of the Country. If taht happens then there will be no Country and so no need of the Armed Forces.
Satish Bahri, Lt Gen (Retd)

Anonymous said...

A very thought provoking article - the pity is that not enough people will read this. Especially not the ones who matter - on the other hand there are a lot of those with warped ideas who will. They should I think be ignored as clearly they are a minority.
National security is squarely in the hands of the armed forces and they will continue to carry out this responsibility to their utmost. The nation needs to recognise this and respect their contribution - compensate them adequately and ensure that their self esteem is not lowered.
A great article once again.

Anonymous said...

I am still serving and for the first time I can identify with a distinguished senior officer. In my views, before we take on others, we need to set our own house in order. Intangibles offered are in most cases put beyond the reach of many who cannot "manage". In present times, it will be ignorance to think that someone who joins forces is not thinking about remuneration. If we are to maintain this highly esteemed institute in the best possible emulative condition, we first have to set our own house in order and then present a unified face to the mandarins who run this country. IPS is already doing it and reaping the benefits. Things have reached this level because they have been allowed to. Let us not waste this inertia and make necessary course corrections to enter safely navigable waters.

xtrak said...

Shiv, u forgot to give credit to the FORCE magzine for printing this article too.

Shiv Aroor said...

correct: it appeared simultaneously with the force edition, though the admiral sent the article directly to me.

concerned said...

Anonymous writer from HIRA MANDI.

You have been truly identified and parentage correctly ascertained.

The complex situation here is beyond your mental level. so stay out of the site.

Anonymous said...

Mr AnonyMOUSE from Hira mandi -you pathetic excuse for a human being. Please read about the Author - you would not be fit to clean his boots in a million years.
He is a fighter pilot who earned a gallantry award in the '71 war. The term 'man of honour' was coined with him in mind.I really wish I could meet you and slam the bloody hell out of you so that you could learn what strength -loyalty -integrity and patriotism was. Words which are totally alien to you....NAVIATOR

J P Joshi said...

This is one of the finest articles that I have read on the subject, and it truly comes straight from the heart. The agony, passion, sense of betrayal/ helplessness and quiet dignity of a thinking and patriotic man come out loud and clear. I do believe that the military community does not want the riches, but surely wants the nation to understand what they do, or are willing to do in times of need - the ultimate sacrifice that any living being can give for the nation - one's life. Where else would you find people climbing the Himalayas with bullets flying in their face? I have lived through times when I was ready for the ultimate sacrifice, and when I quit the uniform, many a times I have wondered 'to protect what'. I also do believe the nation is much larger than a few politicians and bureaucrats but I do wonder what is it that galvanises 'we, the people' of this nation? I have got more respect, as a soldier, in countries that never benefited from my soldiering. I got this because they respected their own military and found me to be one with the same values and ethos as them. Those nations lived through world wars, events where probably each family lost a loved one and appreciated the value of that sacrifice. Do we need a world war for Indians to appreciate the sacrifices made by their fellow countrymen in uniform?

Anonymous said...

A very impressive and well written article. The development or other wise of the armed forces in the democratic India has been very cnadidly brought out.
The independent India definitley had its clout in the world.PM of India discussing with the President of US for hours together on Problems of Korea and Yugoslavia. Whilst we inherited the British Armed Forces of India which was quite famous after the 2nd world war, we were not party to the strategic plans. The Brits had kept Tibet as ally and Kept China at bay and used Afghanistan to contain Russia, on both counts we faltered and paid the price.
It was over the reported development of Chinese military build upand the need for India to retaliate or be prepared to retaliate that the issues went out of control for the government. For a Non aligned nation believing in Panch sheel, with Hindi Cheeni Bhai Bhai, the requirements of the Armed forces (army) to prepare for war was not acceptable and it was a well thoughtout plan of the then defence minister which has set up the current organisation.
Whilst Indian armed forces has remained apolitical through out till date, One must not forget that the same Biritish armed forces of Pakistan ( which is also rated very high for its commitment values and performance)has grabbed power for more than 50% of its independent years. The story is not very different in Bangladesh , and much worse in Burma.

The perceived insecurity trauma of the armed forces with the Polity is there to stay for some time. It would require larger participation and representation of the ESM in political parties and in governance for these apprehensions to dispel.
At some point in time during the lead up to the infamous decision to replace CNS, there were whisper campaigns afloat of gun boats coming up the Yamuna ( god knows for what)and there was the unpleasant political upstaging of a Chief by one of the CINC using a special flight to move from Kochi to Delhi, staying incommunicado in a ministerial house and finally as things things turned out to look as if a govt had to plot and hatch to remove a Serving Naval Chief.

As Churhill once said "war is too serious an affair to be left to Generals and admirals", Armed forces by themselves have only a limited role. It is only when the economic might, industrial strength, Science and Technology and Intellegentia is integrated into it that it is a success.

As it stands now our vision is still carried forward from a stage where we thought DRDO would do the R&D, the PSUs will produce, The DGQA will inspect, the Armed Forces only need to say what it requires give a fromal requirement to the DRDO and come for trials when they call.

It calls for much more than that and team work. This calls for programs to be kept under the services for anything to be inducted.

It calls for a qualified team of professionals who serve at defence HQ long enough to make that difference.

More often than not most of the armed forces officers who work in DHQ are as much generalists as their civilian counter parts as far as capability for equipment evaluation, new technology, induction and product support etc goes.

Possible the first single step would be to keep the quality of officers high. May be introduce full officers pay from NDA stage, introduce a mandatory engineering as option at NDA with a bond for 7 years like the AFMC policy.
Assure them a 1 year IIM course on completion


Seva Paramo Dharma

Anonymous said...

A nice write up - but we are still far from a solution.

i am an ESM and working with IT. My value in this MNC subsidiary is mainly my work culture and ethics imbibed in the service.

I left because i did not make it and also because i was disillusioned by some of my seniors conduct. My Gods had feet of clay

We get taken for a ride because our seniors are not taking positions strongly enough. Its takes more guts to face up to the bureacracy than to order your men to quiten down.

Will somebody take a strong stance even now - we all know the answer to that. the lower and middle ranks cannot do anything but the higher rungs are too busy with own agendas to come out fighting on such issues

No IAS guy is going to solve it and till we get a chief like ronnie perierra, we can keep waiting...

Anonymous said...

I am a common man and I really want to know when was I treated right by the Politicians, Babus and militarywallas?

What salary figures he is talking about? These are very few ex-service men who actually get high salaries.

My father is a ex Junior Co missioned Officer. He retired and can't find a decent job. They want him as a security guard in front of a corporate gate.

The discontent is mostly among officer class. This officer class has been living in luxury that is unknown in 1970's and till now. Go to the officers quarters and messes. You will find they live better than upper middle class of the society.

Here the issue is not corporate pays, here is the issue of babu Vs Military officer (not PBOR).

Its ok to make noise, unless you don't make noise , no one listens. But its high time the "Officer Class" of armed forces making it a patriotic deal.

Let ask ourselves if these officers can actually do better in military.

If you see the constitution of the officers in military only very few have some technical competence and higher administrative stills. Except for few pilots and mantainanece officers, who else will give these people even a decent job?

Another issue with these officers is that they do not have civil manners. They have some kind of aparthide kind of attitude to civvis they claim to protect. Just go t any of the officers house or retired officers house, you will feel it. Getting into a general unit or other non-critical areas too, you will see the hostility to the civilians.

Its better if nation sheds a tear for th PBOR's and give them a raise. While the officers can fight for themselves for salaries, I cannot see them fighting for their duties like inducting Indian weapons etc.

My opinion is and Indian Armed Forces officer is just another Indian citizen and they should not expect Indian citizens to treat them as British Raj officers.

Anonymous said...

sir,
a brilliant essay that totally sums up the sentiments of us soldiers. service men that differ from these are probably in the forces but doing little related to real soldiering. as for the rude remarks, well, it takes all kinds to make the world, i suppose. for some time i had thought of putting my feeling on paper too, but now, i'll just share this with my friends!
i once again salute - the memory of those of my comrades who did their duty in spite of a thankless nation, those that did so and were lucky enough to survive, and those that continue to do so today even when it is has been made absolutely clear to us that NO ONE WHO MATTERS , IN GIVING US OUR DUE, EVEN CARES!

Anonymous said...

sir,
a brilliant essay that totally sums up the sentiments of us soldiers. service men that differ from these are probably in the forces but doing little related to real soldiering. as for the rude remarks, well, it takes all kinds to make the world, i suppose. for some time i had thought of putting my feeling on paper too, but now, i'll just share this with my friends!
i once again salute - the memory of those of my comrades who did their duty in spite of a thankless nation, those that did so and were lucky enough to survive, and those that continue to do so today even when it is has been made absolutely clear to us that NO ONE WHO MATTERS , IN GIVING US OUR DUE, EVEN CARES!

Anonymous said...

Presently in one of the Admirals ex ship. Can I have the courage to ask him what he tried to impress upon the SYSTEM when he held the Helm of affairs. We are expected to do wonders and achieve targets. Sir can I ask you what targets you set for yourself when you were recieving the Baton and the charge of all lesser mortals like us who are always there, every watch to do your beck and call. Being articulate is very nice on paper, why not let actions be more articulate, Mr Admiral? Are't we living upto our finest naval traditions of being (White)Paper Tigers and A**lickers!!!!!!!!

Enlightenment Seeker

THE POWER OF 1 said...

TO THE PAPER TIGER A**LICKER.The Admirals ex ship??It should be easy to zero down on you -just look for the sorry ,gutless ,disgruntled wimp with pathetic language skills.Its guys like you along with the ketchup Colonels who are the cause for the state we are in. What could the Admiral have done in one tenure?? Actions speaking more than words?? At yr age he was flying missions into Pakistan-hows that for actions ??YOU choose what you want to lick and what you want to be.The system is bad ? WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT ? in yr ship / immediate sphere? As far as the Admiral ... the ex CNS you chose to scorn - For someone like ADM Arun Prakash ....just stand up and salute .... for starters.

TO THE COMPLEXED COMMON MAN-
You have a problem with practically everybody -nobody treats you right you say.is the problem within yr self?Think about it. You say that officers are incapable of getting good jobs but are upset that yr Dad, a JCO is getting offers only as a Security guard?

How about all the officers who led from the front and died at kargil ? Were they also unworthy of yr respect?

Anonymous said...

To the Super Complexed "THE POWER OF 1"

You too are nothing but a 3rd class citizen of India witht he first thre being these firangs, netas and babus. Which ever cloud your nose is, its still uder their asses.

Majority of the Defence officers , especially the admin branches are mere pen pushers.

You talk about the ones who died in Kargil? I would say any one doing their jobs properly is worth the respect. A soldier has to be loyal to his duty, we are also loyal to our work that we put in. We all sacrifice. And a million thanks to all of us who do their duty.

Your nose is so deep in the their asses that you cannot fathom the genunity of what I said.

The "Officer" class has just a handfull of good ones and just 20% of them have some kind of skills. Rest are just pen pushers. The bulk of fighting is done by these people and majority of the PBOR's. If you have to really pay, then the pay comission should pay these 20%. For others , they are just babus. There is a creamy layer in the officer ranks too.

These entire so called officer community live in plush areas with largesse. In Army these pen pushers treat the fighting class PBOR's as Bat man's, even their wives abuse the fighting PBORS.

I am not objecting to them fighting for their pay. All i said is they are whipping "sacrifice" sentiments like politicians whip "communal" sentiments. Its mentioned above.

There is nothing like "sacrifice for country" hence pay up these guys. The actual tussel is Civilian babu Vs the Military babu.

Anonymous said...

To the Super Complexed "THE POWER OF 1"

You too are nothing but a 3rd class citizen of India witht he first thre being these firangs, netas and babus. Which ever cloud your nose is, its still uder their asses.

Majority of the Defence officers , especially the admin branches are mere pen pushers.

You talk about the ones who died in Kargil? I would say any one doing their jobs properly is worth the respect. A soldier has to be loyal to his duty, we are also loyal to our work that we put in. We all sacrifice. And a million thanks to all of us who do their duty.

Your nose is so deep in the their asses that you cannot fathom the genunity of what I said.

The "Officer" class has just a handfull of good ones and just 20% of them have some kind of skills. Rest are just pen pushers. The bulk of fighting is done by these people and majority of the PBOR's. If you have to really pay, then the pay comission should pay these 20%. For others , they are just babus. There is a creamy layer in the officer ranks too.

These entire so called officer community live in plush areas with largesse. In Army these pen pushers treat the fighting class PBOR's as Bat man's, even their wives abuse the fighting PBORS.

I am not objecting to them fighting for their pay. All i said is they are whipping "sacrifice" sentiments like politicians whip "communal" sentiments. Its mentioned above.

There is nothing like "sacrifice for country" hence pay up these guys. The actual tussel is Civilian babu Vs the Military babu.

Anonymous said...

I too am an ESM who has served with Admiral Arun Prakash whom I considered both a gentleman and fine officer. However I differ with him when he says "....Deep down down they are just like any of us" Aren't we all Indians, whether in uniform or not. Dont we have the same concerns, how to look after our families, how to save for our old age, how to scrimp and save to buy a roof over our heads when we can no longer earn. That is precisely why a long term solution, needs to be found for our brave comrades, who are thrown out to face the uncertainty of the outside world by compulsory retirement at a relatively young age. Apart from increasing pay the Government must draft a cogent plan to ensure this disciplined and trained manpower is suitably retrained and harnessed in nation building activities like the civil services and local administration. A poor country lik e ours cannot afford to waste such precious resources.

Anonymous said...

Admiral thinks that only the Military people have these problems. Why is a Indian "Officer" considered brave? Are we all cowards? I am brave too, just that I could not join the military.

I find all the hype by these "Officers" giving connotations like "brave", "sacrifice", "loyalty to the nation" and other sloganeering as a sentimental blackmail.

Aren't rest of India the same? Are PVt sector guys bad? Why are we suffering?

What about PBOR? Aren't they same. These officers should have taken care of their Men first. Instead we see self serving pen pushers.

Anonymous said...

Well Well Well !!!! So much about pay and Izzat O Iqubal I have been associated wth the services since birth as an army officers son & have VERY close friends right from their 1st term in N.D.A.
I think its not about money Its about the system about career prospects.......I am sure that No I.A.S or allied services have to continously study for their promotions.....Practically all make it to a Maj. Gen's grade without opening a book after their initial tranning.........Its their system..........albeit I do agree that not all officers can make the grade but all the same he should be shown where he will land up at the end of the day....Hello he was intelligent to clear the U.P.S.C exams from amongst millions so i must put across that he is above average then a commener like me.........Its a sad state that there are a few who take pride in "Fixing" a guys career........& to avoid this many start as the saying goes "A" licking.....well this happens in the pvt sector too....some one said that the C.O's missuse the perks....Look inside us don't we all do this? Its only the degree or proportion that varies !!!
In conclusion i appreciate the article Writen By the Admiral.......Now i only wish he had done it while in uniform.....
Jai Hind

Popli said...

Such callous comments in the language used by the person who hides behind the word 'Anonymous' reflect basic degeneration of the mind and being unaware of facts washed with easy money and dastardly upbringing. One reserves the right to comment and post views, but to do so in this language brings forth only one reaction: hes a bastard in letter and spirit.The article is touching and true in every word. The role of media,IAS lobby has been brought out so correctly. Not a word extra.

Anonymous said...

Popli is such a respectable name to hide than Anonymous?

Popli too is a bastard in Spirit. He is a product of degeneration of the mind and being unaware of facts washed with easy money and dastardly upbringing.

What difference it makes?

Anonymous said...

nobody is realising that if they dont get decent pay package, the day is not far when the country may face a mutiny by these faujis. tab pura ka pura corporate sector dhara ka dhara raha jayega. already many cases r being reported where soldiers r killing officers out of disgust. i feel they should be given their due for peace in this country.

Anonymous said...

Dear friend,

As an army wife & naval daughter , I have a simple suggestion to make. All Armed forces personnel-retired & dependents must announce that on an appointed date say 15 July, they will all come out of their houses and take a simple pledge in the name of Their Ammighty & Unit that during this election, they will not be mute & passive spectators but they will follow Colonel Bhainsala example of fighting for our cause & that is those who donot care for us, will be made to pay & suffer for that.They can invite all those who care for soldiers to join in.

Let this be widely publicised & let us all rally to the cause-

"Chor Babuon ka picha chod, Faujion se nata jod.

Nahin to Fauji aab jaga, aab too gaddi chod !!

with regards & hope.

Anonymous said...

You know, why the state of armed forces has become like this today because they are not a vote bank. Govt does not get anything in return by providing any facilities to them, thats why armed forces are ignored now a days. armed forces should fight to play an active role in politics by casting their votes. proxy voting and postal ballot system should be done away with. whoever is posted at which ever constituency should vote in that constituency. for example, if a jawan is posted at lucknow, he should vote in lucknow for assembly as well as general elections. he should not send a postal vote to his home constituency. if this gets implemented then these politicians will definitely listen to the armed forces and pay commission will also do justice to them. i feel three service chiefs should take up this issue with the govt and this govt may implement this because as it is they are in troublesome times, they might get some votes from armed forces on this issue. any takers of this idea???

Anonymous said...

With regards to my simple suggestion of taking a pledge on being active during the impending polls,while I agree with the long term suggestion of polling for officers at their place of posting, for our Jawans, it is still their connection with their villages, which endures.
For the present, let us do the "DOABLE",yes join in the pledge movement please. Let us not get side tracked from the immediate focus, if we lose the battle now, it may never get redressed for a new concept is being put into practice. COME ON LET US , STAND UP FOR OUR RIGHTS PLEASE, FOR THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO UNDERSTAND ANY OTHER MESSAGE.

Vikrant said...

It is indeed distresiing to read the views of the supposedly educated citizens of our great country on varied aspects of our defence forces. Each one of the contributors seem to be complexed and suffering from their opwn insecurities - whether it is a JCO's son who nurtured hopes of joining the army as an officer but was not found to be of good enuf material or the IT professional who that beutiful damsel overlooked in favor of that smart, suave and chivalrous army officer. To say that the Indian Army officer puts his own interest ahead of that of his subordinates is blasphemous to say the least. Casualty figure in all major conflicts prove that one officer dies in battle fior every ten men - and before you unlucky souls not wearing the OG whoop in delight, let me add that the ratio of officers to jawaan in the army is 1 : 36. But then the Chetwodian Motto is lost on those with no character to speak of.

If you all can not be tahnkful for or appreciate the sacrifice being made daily by the defence pesonnel at least dont insult them by youyr foul language. Like someone said it is easy to write gross and foul sentences sitting in the comfort of your hole (AC or otherwise) but to go on gorund and act for the safety of the nation without sapring a thiught for your own and that of your family back home - take guts _ _ _ _ and character. And to think that it is all for a bunch of thankless lot like you all_ _ _ _ God help you.

Anonymous said...

The article written by the admiral is very good.As ESM I should tell you with proud that, what my BOSS has written has given his view not demanded from the govt. of India.Its very hard now a days for those ESM who have lost their every thing in WAR.What a ordinary people use to tell, we should not take care.

Once again I will Thank him for his GOOD article.

Anonymous said...

Why do I still serve you?

How you play with us, did you ever see?
At Seven, I had decided what I wanted to be;
I would serve you to the end,
All these boundaries I would defend.

Now you make me look like a fool,
When at Seventeen and just out of school;
Went to the place where they made "men out of boys"
Lived a tough life …sacrificed a few joys…

In those days, I would see my 'civilian' friends,
Living a life with the fashion trends;
Enjoying their so called "College Days"
While I sweated and bled in the sun and haze…
But I never thought twice about what where or why
All I knew was when the time came, I'd be ready to do or die.

At 21 and with my commission in hand,
Under the glory of the parade and the band,
I took the oath to protect you over land, air or sea,
And make the supreme sacrifice when the need came to be.

I stood there with a sense of recognition,
But on that day I never had the premonition,
that when the time came to give me my due,
You'd just say," What is so great that you do?"

Long back you promised a well to do life;
And when I'm away, take care of my wife.
You came and saw the hardships I live through,
And I saw you make a note or two,
And I hoped you would realise the worth of me;
but now I know you'll never be able to see,
Because you only see the glorified life of mine,
Did you see the place where death looms all the time?
Did you meet the man standing guard in the snow?
The name of his newborn he does not know...
Did you meet the man whose father breathed his last?
While the sailor patrolled our seas so vast?

You still know I'll not be the one to raise my voice
I will stand tall and protect you in Punjab Himachal and Thois.

But that's just me you have in the sun and rain,
For now at Twenty Four, you make me think again;
About the decision I made, Seven years back;
Should I have chosen another life, some other track?


Will I tell my son to follow my lead?
Will I tell my son, you'll get all that you need?
This is the country you will serve
This country will give you all that you deserve?

I heard you tell the world "India is shining"
I told my men, that's a reason for us to be smiling
This is the India you and I will defend!
But tell me how long will you be able to pretend?
You go on promise all that you may,
But it's the souls of your own men you betray.

Did you read how some of our eminent citizens
Write about me and ridicule my very existence?
I ask you to please come and see what I do,
Come and have a look at what I go through
Live my life just for a day
Maybe you'll have something else to say?

I will still risk my life without a sigh
To keep your flag flying high
but today I ask myself a question or two…
Oh India…. Why do I still serve you?

Vikrant said...

I bow my head to you oh great poet. Very well said and I am sure reflecting the feelings of all defence personnel - officers and PBOR alike. Only if the powers that are, because of you soldiers, can see sense for once. God bless you

Anonymous said...

Proud of you, son. My elder kid is 28 years. You summed it up well in the form of a poem. I served in the Indian Air Force for 26 years and enjoyed every minute of it. Did not once question. However, once I hung up my uniform, there have been occasions when I have had this nagging doubt... what was I trying to defend... a piece of real estate, or the values enshrined in our constitution.... I don't see any of those values anywhere in the civvy street. Our leaders, bureaucracy and anybody who has any authority is just doing his own ....... Dr. Ambedkar must be feeling sorry for having written such a fine constitution ... we the people of India. But, I still have hope.. one day we will get a good leader like Mahatma Gandhi, may be an A B Vajpayee who will care more for the country and the people and lead us out of the abyss of corruption, communalism, selfishness, self before everything else. These are the values that lead to such caustic remarks about the military. I had, like every one else in the forces, led a very cocooned life in the forces and was not even aware of all these ills that plague our society. Our defence forces signify the best of what can be India... one day. They signify brotherhood without caste creed, religion, a relatively corruption free life, a life where even the biggest of sacrifice is given smilingly and service is mostly put before self. Woh subah kabhi to aayegi. So, continue and serve. When one has good people around every hardship seems enjoyable. I have been to Siachin glacier and saw the joy on the faces of the soldiers there, I have seen the same joy on the faces of sailors on board our majestic ships and of course on the faces of my own airmen........ that joy of doing one's bit even under the most trying of circumstances... life never mattered...what mattered only was that one should not let down ones comrades, unit, superiors and country. So, don't ask 'Why do I still serve?' Just serve because it is your duty to do so, once you have taken the oath and have had the honour to wear the uniform. Hopefully one day our countrymen will understand.... a military never complains because it turns every hardship into a hobby.... and starts enjoying it. Good luck and God bless. Keep smiling and serving.

Anonymous said...

Very well said sir.

Anonymous said...

I can not but disagree with several of the points made in the Admiral's article.

First of all I believe the article accomplishes exactly the kind of thing that the Admiral accuses the media of propagating - mindless appeal to the emotions than to reason. This kind of an essay befits the josh of a new second lieut but not an Admiral... Sample this - "Not even a decade has passed since Tiger Hill and Tololing were won back by our soldiers in the face of intense enemy opposition at a horrific cost in lives. But our citizens do not have the time to even light a candle in memory of those who fell in Kargil, or a hundred other battles, because their adulation seems to be reserved exclusively for cricketers, cine stars and politicians. One often wonders if patriotic young soldiers should be shedding blood for the safety and well being of a society as ungrateful as ours?"

The patriotic young soldiers are shedding the blood not because of some lofty ideals of patriotism but because (a) It is their duty to follow orders and (b) their government has not been able to avoid conflict (c) The senior officers have not been able to provide the correct vision and direction so that intrusions are detected and repulsed in time (d) The int agencies have not been able to do their job and can not be held responsible because no body knows how to hold them accountable and finally, (e) the army airforce and navy have not been able to provide cutting edge weaponry and equipment to their soldiers because of which they have to climb barren peaks with unsurmountable odds against them

The Admiral is not alone amongst our senior officers who has such fuzzy notions of soldiering. There is a singular lack of vision amongst our decision makers both civil and military.
It is Navy that has bought a junk aircraft carrier cost of which has trebled since it was contracted. Navy also bought a Landing Ship Dock (junk again)which operated Hovercrafts but only minus the hovercrafts. The navy operates a several minesweepers that can only sweep mines that existed in the Second world war! A ship that broke into two because of an ordinance accident was decided to be rebuilt - an engineering feat that is unparalleled (in stupidity)!

The Army spends 60% of its budget in salaries and pension. At the field level the company of an Indian Army unit is the most basic of military formations in the world. The still do Tiger this is Cobra over on crackling VHF radio sets. All the services are continuing with their strange adulation for antiquated ceremonial procedures.

People of Inida are disenfranchised as far as defence issues go because of the secrecy and awe that these have been deliberately kept in! COSC never testifies to the parliament, never accounts for the money they spend or policies they follow unlike their US counterparts. Strangely, it is in the interest of the services to get their policies and expenditure audited by the parliament by such open hearings so that there is internal as well as external accountability.

The main problem - which the Admiral fails to outline - is the lack of internal and external transparency in the defence establishment of the country because of which there is inadequate understanding and therefore inadequate sympathy towards the defence forces amongst our countrymen.

No body knows and understands why the casualty rate was so high in Kargil or for that matter why were the intrusions not detected in time. Or for that matter why should we buy a particular carrier tank or aircraft... There is no public or political debate on these issues. There is a strange consensus on military issues as these are not discussed openly and thus do not engage the attention of the country. See the wide debate over the Iraq war of the F22 fighter in the US in comparison to us, where there is debate only when kickbacks are alleged.

I also do not like the pontificating tone and subtle patronising rebuke to ex servicemen by the admiral. This is a free country and anyone has a lawful right to protest when they are no longer subject to the Army Act.

The sixth pay commission indeed gives a little more to the IAS in way of status and it may be a good idea to state it explicitly and allow our army, naval and Airforce officers and PBOR below the IAS exam cutoff age to appearin the IAS exam. Many will pass and carry the military ethos to the IAS - But, none of the services currently allows this except for the short service officers.

Also the forces must choose a suitable direction for themselves. Fighting insurgents is to suppress someone who follows a different political ideaology and is the sphere of paramilitary and police forces. In trying to be 'relevant' the forces engage in too much that is not in their 'zone'. Be it fighting insurgencies, taking children out of borewells, fighting non state actors like LTTE in undeclared hostilities, flag marches in communal riots etc etc. The military must insist on a white paper on the reasons why other organs of state failed because of which Army had to do the concerned agency's job. This should be analysed throughly.

I wish our senior military commanders did what they ought to do - think hard, audit their force's operations, provide clear vision and direction - rather than whip up passions in a juvenile manner.

Anonymous said...

What set of complete idiots we have here, I am civilian. Good job Admiral, Thank you for your kind service. Pay no heed to the idiots around you, who call forth about second world war era minesweepers but forget that this is India we are talking about, and have no clue about budgets. As to why we cant cut down our forces which is needed for a 2 front war if need be. Nor do they understand military men are led by patriotism but at the same time they are not devoid of normal human life, at least for their family. It is our duty to provide for them. An Indian Jawan dying in Kashmir for a paltry Rs.5000/month protecting his fellow countrymen. The numbnut who spoke about Corporate efficiency should wonder if anybody can get as efficient as the Indian Armed forces, getting a man for Rs.5000 to die for his country. You disgust me. Carry on Admiral, I am behind you, For every idiot here, You have ONE me. Protect, I respect your service. I need your service. The Flag needs your service.


My country men spoiled by the stupid hippie Utopian socialistic ideas, not understanding that for every Ketchup Colonel we have a thousand Vikram Batra. Like we have an Ratan Tata for every Ketan Parikh. Learn from the Americans, how one should treat their soldiers. You all are nothing but Oxygen thief whose very right to free speech is garunteed by this very fine men; if not it will Paki or Chinese Flag on Red Fort. And for your info; The government didnt release fund for the Carrier project, the Navy had no other choice than Gorshkov, and about USS Trenton, the bloody thing cost $50 million dollars with the friggin helicopters. PRACTICALLY FREE...It is for understanding amphibious warfare so we can develop our doctrine and build ships accordingly.

What idiots for my fellow country men. Thank your lucky stars this aint China and Pakistan. And Indian Army is not the PLA or PA