Monday, October 13, 2008

Admiral Arun Prakash: It pays to have security (Hindustan Times)

It is regretful that a section of the media has been trying to propagate the false impression that the three armed forces chiefs have defied the government on the pay commission and that they have been admonished for it. Spreading such disinformation is unethical, damaging to the armed forces and harmful for national security.

On April 12 2006, when the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) was constituted, as Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), I wrote to the then Defence Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, seeking his intervention for the “appointment of a service officer as a constituted member of the 6th CPC… since the lack of a service representative was one of the main reasons for the dissatisfaction amongst the armed forces post the 5th CPC award”.

Responding positively, Mukherjee assured the chiefs that despite oppos-ition from his Cabinet colleagues, he would still try to ‘embed’ a services element in the commission. A few weeks later, he became Foreign Minister and the fate of the armed forces was left to the mercy of the bureaucracy-dominated commission.

As expected, the Sixth CPC report contained glaring anomalies vis-à-vis the armed forces, and at the persistent urging of the CoSC, the government was constrained to constitute a review committee. Inexplicably, the committee again excluded any armed forces representation, following which ex-servicemen began to show signs of discontent. Alarmed at this, a few retired service chiefs wrote to the PM expressing concern at these developments, which boded ill for the services. He was urged to include a services representative in the committee. Obviously, contrary advice from other quarters prevailed, with predictable results.

Today, the services are disturbed at the loss of certain parities in pay that existed before the Sixth CPC, between service officers and employees of other central services, for which no rationale has been offered. Also, this was done surreptitiously. Even more disturbing is the manner in which the pension of jawans was sought to be depressed by 20 per cent.

As a consequence, the three chiefs have been placed in an awkward position. They know from past experiences that once the CPC award is implemented, there will be no redressal. It’s perhaps poetic justice that Mukherjee should now have been appointed to preside over the Group of Ministers constituted to re-examine the grievances of the armed forces as a ‘last ditch’ measure by the government to unravel the mess created by the Sixth CPC and compounded by the committee.

Democracies like the US, Britain and France have learnt from experience that the best way of retaining ‘civilian control’ over their militaries is to designate the head of the armed forces as the Principal Military Advisor to the head of government, a Chief of Defence Staff (or equivalent). For reasons that are not clear, India’s politicians seem to have neither the time nor the inclination to deal directly with the leadership of the armed forces, having surrendered this responsibility to the bureaucracy.

So when the Minister needs advice, he seeks it from the Secretary and not the service chiefs. By the same token, the CPC and the committee did not deem it appropriate to consult the chiefs or their representatives on the services’ remuneration issues.

Those who feel that the services are mixing up grievances related to ‘pay and allowances’ with issues of ‘command and control’ overlook the fact that the services are being increasingly called upon to assist in civilian emergencies. In such contingencies, they have to work in close co-ordination with the civil administration and police. When the CPC arbitrarily changes pay scales overnight, the existing relativities with these authorities automatically get altered, placing the armed forces in an extremely difficult situation and directly impacting operations.

With a general election round the corner, the time has now come for the polity to make national security a poll issue and leave it to the people to decide if this is the way they want the nation’s security to be managed.

Text ©Copyright Hindustan Times


Anonymous said...

Admiarl is very mils and wavering.
If oane has ro write of the truth and disspassioanltely, please write likw this"[]

Pride and precedence

Manvendra Singh

October 13, 2008
The Congress party's DNA does not allow it to handle three subjects with insight, intellect or innovation. On most other issues the party comes up with interesting ideas, even if the process adopted is bizarre. But DNA is, in this case, essentially about memory and that is precisely the undoing of the Congress party when it comes to dealing with Pakistan, China, and the Indian armed forces. Not necessarily in the same breadth, but even as individual subjects.
While the principal culprit would of course be the invertebrate nature of the average Congressperson, the onus for this intellectual disaster falls squarely on the shoulders of late Prime Minister Nehru. The sheer scale of his capabilities and intellect when compared to what his contemporaries possessed created an aura of impenetrable proportions. It was, in a sense, India's first example of outsourcing wherein the party simply left thought to its leader. Whatever policy Nehru formulated was enshrined in party shastras. No reason to think again.

The ideas that the great leader bequeathed his small party did not require intelligence in implementing, as if they were cast in stone. But for the economic policy that was tossed out by an equally interesting leader, the late PV Narasimha Rao, the inability to think out of the box over Pakistan, China and the Armed Forces remains an enduring legacy. A brief attempt over these three issues during the term of the late Rajiv Gandhi came to naught as the enormous inertia of the Congress party checked him.

The same inertia has come to mark the incredibly inept handling of the armed forces Pay Commission crisis. The Government of India has compounded errors with its unbelievable ignorance about the grievance of the armed forces. The three chiefs have displayed their own ineptitude in how they've carried the message for their services, but more on that later.

The root of the crisis lies in the strange Indian practice of constituting a pay commission that would look at the army in Siachen and the additional secretary in South Block. How the two job requirements, and service ethos, can ever be written about on the same page defies explanation. Despite that the government did not appoint an armed forces member on the commission even when it had the opportunity to do so.

The end result of which is that the service headquarters are banging their heads on the wall to plead that the report as it stands is not implement able. Unlike what anybody has alluded to or accused the chiefs of not doing, the issue is not over pay, but over precedence. And as the doorman of any government official knows, it is precedence that carries the order of the day. But in this case the order of the day is going to have two very serious crises.

In the short term the government's ignorance, and insistence, is certain to wreck carefully crafted unified command structures in insurgency areas. Just as politicians stand accused of turning the socio-political clock back in the Kashmir valley, politicians can now also be accused of aiming to turn the operational clock back. The reason being that the Pay Commission has come up with its own formulations over pay and precedence.

While it had the authority to look into matters of pay, it did not have the licence to tamper with precedence. And by doing what it has done, it has ensured that the carefully worked out counter-insurgency mechanism stands on the verge of collapsing. The primacy accorded to the army vis-�-vis police, state and central, is being systematically being whittled away.

As a former journalist who covered the last Pay Commission, and its very sorry air force fiasco, suffice to say that what confronts the country today is far more serious. And insidious. The key officers accountable for India's tactics on the Line of Control [Images] or in anti-insurgency operations within are to lose the very precedence that has given them the authority to bring the situation to where it is.

While the responsibility devolved upon the state and central police forces, the control continued to spiral out of hand. It was only when the Army was deployed, and set into motion its own counter-insurgency grid, that a semblance of control could be seen. Now this same Army is being made accountable to the police forces in terms of precedence. When this has not happened in any other country in the world, how India could hope to re-invent this relationship is perplexing to say the least.

The second serious crisis is one the country will have to face when it goes into a conventional war. As per the war manual the Army takes command of the BSF and the Navy of the Coast Guard. When this tinkering of precedence has happened, who will now relinquish to whom? It is a very serious crisis of command and one which is testing the resilience of the three services.

There weren't any blogs during the last Pay Commission, and nor was there much of an email presence. Yet mobilisation happened on levels that could be termed scary. Both these new technologies have given much air to voices of those that have always remained mute.

In order to have the honour of wearing the President's commission an officer forfeits certain fundamental rights. This holds true for all ranks. The historical and global logic being that the sheer scale of that honour is enough to compensate for those losses. Those who have experienced the pleasure and honour of the uniform will vouch for the judiciousness of this exchange. So it is galling when the three chiefs seek to right a wrong and they're accused of sedition. Being soldiers they're of course meant, and seen, to be mum on all matters. But when honour is at stake it is the duty of all to stand up and be counted. For this is at the core of India's civilisation as enshrined in the Bhagvad Gita.

In their inexperience with politicians, and their ineptitude at being messengers, the chiefs were delivering the wrong message all this while. It had nothing to do with pay but with precedence. It is in the nature of all bureaucracies to encroach. The military bureaucracy also does it when given a chance. But this creeping encroachment encouraged by political blindness could cost the country very dearly. For at stake is the honour of India's armed forces, the institution that the country holds dearest. And giving it to those that the country loathes, in khaki, safari and white.

Manvendra Singh, MP, represents Barmer in the Lok Sabha

Guest Columns

Well that is what makes a writting? it is too good

silver surfer said...

manvendra singh is anything but dispassionate.

1. he's just used the platform to bash the congress. how predictable.

2. he's in the territorial army, so he isn't exactly an "uninterested party".

3. his father has been defence minister.

4. as a defence correspondent with the express, mr singh was well known for being the best bet for plugs and plants. he was downright famous for it.

having covered the 5th pay commission along with with manvendra, his dubious sources at the time were well known to one and all.

Anonymous said...

what a joke first anon. manvendra was spoilt goods from the word go. nothing he has written was not motivated. and his silly column bespeaks of nothing but pre-poll anxieties of the BJP which is looking to make use of the disenchantment among the forces to its advantage.

Anonymous said...

Admiral Prakash, one of the best chiefs we have had in recent times,can certainly write a much more scathing article but, i guess, he is showing restraint due to the positions he has occupied during his long career.

Anonymous said...

The Admiral is in his characteristic best here - subtle but sure of what he means.He has hit it right on the head - the issue of parity in rank and status has far wider implications for the future than what we can imagine.

Anonymous said...

Contomplate...These are Not IAs Trade Union Issues

My Dear Friends,

Tell all that Cock and Bull to someone else.

One must look for "Issues", "Ideas" and "occasions", if one is sincere and not bring undividuals and personalities in between.

The background of an individula is relevent but not as much relevent as "isssues" and "Ideas". What is the use of holding the so called position for long, if you can claerly "call a spade a spade" and advance ideas for the betterment of the Nation and the Services when you have given an opprtunity and time too was appropriate?.

That is what Manvender has clearly said that the serives Chiefs so far have been conveying wrong massages in history.

The Question as rightly raised is "Are the three services Chiefs Massangers in this Setup as the Regional Commanders are Operational Commanders?" Read the Chacter of Duties of the MoD and the Services HO and every thing appers to be clear?"

Do not we all know this is classical "Divide and Rule" and the Bureacracy has been using the devide since Independence. BM Kual type..IAS Generals...

Is not it true that except for all other subjects, our Policies and proclaimantions with repect to the Armed Forces are as pathetic and vague as with respect to Pakistan and China?

Has any Politiian or Bureaucratic ever clarly given any clear order or mendates to the Armed Forces excet for one??? That too coming from some other source??

Ask Armed Forces if they have ever received clear cut Instruction for any thing in past 61 years? Say with respect to Counter Insugency Operation in Assam or any where else?

They are very fortunate thathad IndianArmy with them? Now they have lost there faith now someone will clearly tell the Minister on the Bureacrat to spell his directions on a piece of Paper.
See the Fun then. The Babus would not know what has hit them.

One needs to really look into he deeper functioning of higher defence Mangement and the pathetic Condtions the Babus have brought it of.

Ask the Indian Army what were the direction for them for Srilanka Operation?

Ask the Goverment of the Indian Union what is the "National Aim"..??? to be spelled out to the Armed Forces?? IAs Babu in MoD will say the National Intrest is the "Cut Armed Gorces to the Size" and "denigrade and downgrade services" ; and in reality that is the natioanl Interest for them. They have functioned on that single parrot like line for past 61 yeras. It is unfortunate truth..

Pathetic is the satate of Affairs of Babudom. Ambiguity, uncertianity and avoidance of responsibilty on the Parts of the Ministers and IAS/ Foreign Service Babus are parametres of their functioning..

Many of the people here on board including some IAS guys really talk shallow and never understnd "the real time issues". It is left to the Services to Cule out someting out of the Consttution of India for him self to vaguely ditermine how Armed Forces are to act in "National Interests".

That much for the much touted "Bureaucratic Control"??


Therefore, the issue raised by "Manvendra have Essence and Gravity."

And that is what is expected from every one whaen one talks of "Defence". It indeed is serious business and need serious thoughts rather than this IAs ganging...

Jai Hind

Anonymous said...

My dear Friens and Perticularly My IAS and journalist Friends...

may I ask you whare is the palce of the "Field Marshall" in the warrant of the Precedent...inspite of the fiasco and deleberate insult meted out to Sam manekshaw... Whay some one responsible for Warrant of Precedent in MHA and Presidents Sectt not Sacked. When it comes to sacking they only look at teh uniform ...Cowards deserving Gun Shot wounds in the Wrong Palce...

Secondly where is the position of the "Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC)"" in the Warrant of Precedence.. Bahi , he represents three Armed Forces Services.....

He needs to be two steps higher in ladder as Compared to Cabinet Secretary...

Hellow Chiefs ...why sleeping???

Ask the Govt..if they fix a wrong palce do not accept the appaointments....

let them make Sekhar Gupta as COSC...

actaually it is the defect of your personalities that you are being made Caharlies...

Anonymous said...

Hello Friends,
I wish bring a little " tradional wisdom" in this otherwise, heavy and mind boggling Natioanal Governance" issue which is presented in modern "hot dog" "qiuck fix" style of argements.

Well, Ghahg has been a common Name amonst masses in the North Inda.One of his observation on the astronomical phenomenon of two eclipses in a month, as occured a few months ago is:


(If there are two eclipses in a month, there is fall of the Goverment (death of the king) and / or defence / the Armed Forces are distressed.

At least the Armed forces are distresses is for all to see which needs immidiate attention. Rise or fall of the govt will be known in the next six months.

IAS web site "whispersincorridor" has already predicted who is going to get how many seats and the Bureaucrates seem to have put their eggs in the fractured Congress coliation basket. I am not in the know of an thing and have no comments but only to say that Indian public is a great surpriser.

I can only fall back to Ghag who said"


(Whenevr Saturn transits the sign Leo, there is a great fall / turmoil in Delhi)

Saturn will be in Leo till after the end of election with IAS planet Jupiter in Capricorn in great debilty. God only knows but the rulers in Delhi need to be extra carefull and take decision with great wisdom. With Jupiter becoming powerless and under comd Rahu in Capricorn, Saturn, the planet of masses will decide of the fate of Delhi effectively.

Any Guess which lady will take over Delhi???

Great wisdom in that common men's peot...Ghag

Maj Gen JS Talwar,AVSM said...

Admiral Arun Prakash's analysis is indeed very apt and appropriate.Each word of what he has written carries enormous meaning.Unless the gross high handed-ness of the Bureaucrats is checked soon enough,the peril caused to the nation will be irreparable.

Anonymous said...

To whom So Ever It Concerns

Why Armed Forces Officers Needs to be Paid Better

. Firstly, the educational qualifications for all class A services is at par.

* Secondly the recruiting Agency is also the same.

* Thirdly, the number of chances and years for the preparation for entry are almost one third as compared to other Services and entries.

* Selection is purely based on merit, No reservations are applicable and vastly superior, psychological physical and medical criteria are applied for selection.

* He is taken very young / young resulting in loss of the youthfulness and beautiful enjoyable young age which others enjoy and this man is denied while defending others. He is made a man of steel and made to discharge duties of Defense when others of his age are enjoying with their girl friends in South Campus or JNU.

* No other services mandatorily undergoes that amount of training and hardships in training as he does for professionalism and national cause. For him his being graduate is not good enough. For an IAS, just being a graduate is very good.

* His "Conditions of Service" are not comparable for any Class A Services. he is subjected to separation, denial of rights, facilities, civil amenities and put under stressful conditions through out.

* He is made to retire 15 years earlier than others. Retiring at a very crucial and demanding age is his biggest drawback which is the organisational requirement but he is not Compensated for it. The Lemon is sucked and peel thrown off.

Compare these with the other Class A "Deshbhaktas" sitting in MoD who enter late by gate crashing, mounted on the crutches of Reservations and four years of coaching etc.

Within 13 years he agin gate crashes and paid better than 24 years service Colonel.

Again he gatecashes and paid better than 34 years Service Major General at his 16 years of service.

It pains me to say, this kind of thing can only happen in "Andher Nagri" where Gold is chaper than Iron as ordered by the King. This below canons of any justice.

The Present Kings in the form of Shri Manmohan and P Chidambaram, the Honorable FM and Ministry of Finance babus along with Cab Secy Can only accept that kind of blind justice along with the favored Class a services. For Armed Forces, the Deewali is getting darker and more darker.

Do not pay the soldier more if you can not but do not pay him less too. If all other Class a services are linked in Pay progression why did you leave out the Armed Forces. It seems you have declared then a thing of non-utility.

If you left them that way you have no right now to say that director will be equivalent to Lt Col. Comparison and equivalence is established on similarity and for people linked in pay under similar conditions.

The only similarities left between Class A officers and Armed Forces officer now is the number of years of service. The Pay similarities and linkage has been robbed off the Armed Forces by other class A services.

Pay band and the pay scales no longer are comparable. Hence stating that equivalence between Amed Forces and other Class A officers will be pay band and basic pay is unacceptable and unjustified.

If the government under Shri Manmohan and Shri Chidambaram can pay only AIS officers, IPS and PMF and not the Armed Forces, it is fine. It is their choice.

But the equivalence and the issue of seniority and being Junior be decided by their number of service irrespective the pay band and basic pay. That can not be denied.

Shri Chidamaram can do that much if he wants to save money. Both the advantages can not and should not be given to Class A employees at the exclusion of the Armed Forces and the four increments of IAS be withdrawn.

Or pay Armed Forces the same amount as IAS at the same number of service. hen pay band and basic pay can be the ceiteria for ditermining seniority.

Forget about ranks. ranks are for departmental functioning. Pay equal to all. All are doing their assigned Jobs.

Jai Hind.

Anonymous said...

Committee of Secretaries

I thank Dr Mahrotra to have provided a Forum for projection of very important and meaningful issues for our society and Country.

One of the important system of arriving at a decision under the executive and for sorting out and coordinating contentious issue between Ministries is system of "Committee of Secretaries". That is fashioned after the system of " Parliamentary Committee". The Committee System reflects the idea of "collective responsibly" and arrival at a bargained consensus. Therefore, the decision is said to be in the best interests of all and the best solution available at that time. In order that it reflects those principles, it is comprised of all effected parties and members of different views like including Parties in Opposition. The system of "Committee of Secretaries" have been a failure and can not achieve the democratic results as all Secretary are from one party called "IAS". No impartial or just decision can ever be expected from this body as it violates all principles and ideas of "committee system" of decision making. They only produce an "IAS Smriti" and they are never a Committee. They are one and have their interest as supreme and capable of even sabotaging the will of the executive and voilate the Constitution. I do not understand that our executives and parliamentaerian are as naive not to understand that. This system under present circumstances and IAS prevalence in every ministry should not be resorted to and be done away with. Committee have to comprise of all effected parties and not "Only IAS". The recent example of the 6th CPC botch up by this body is an example. This is what leads to dictatorship and not "Army Dictatorship" canard, many irresponsibly talk about here and there. Democracy by "Committee of IAS Secretaries" is dictatorship as is evident to all.

It is eveident who is the gretest threat to Democracy in India. Is it IAS or the Armed Foces??

Anonymous said...

today i saw army jawans patrolling the streets of delhi. I dont know why the services are accepting such demand of police and district adminstarion failures. The local police is still collecting their bribes with impunity. Is it left for the army only to cover for the absolute collapse of the police and district administration system. The service chiefs need to develop some spine and refuse such request come whatmay ever. A day is not far when the ploiuce wil be busy collecting bribes and letting the antinationals enter the country and cause mayhem and the army jawan would be busy clening the mess and directing the traffic.
Come stand up chiefs. dont let army go to dogs. the future generation will pay the price for your silence, the signs are quite clear. Read the writing on the walls. Let every one do his duty Including the dhotiwala, the babus, the corrupt and disfunctional police