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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

From Today's Papers - 23 Dec 09


GCM arrests woman officer, kicks up a row
Vijay Mohan/Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 22
A woman army officer summoned as a witness was reportedly placed under arrest by a general court martial (GCM) for alleged verbal altercation with the court during proceedings.

The officer was reportedly kept in “illegal confinement” in the custody of an escort officer overnight. While the GCM has been adjourned sine die following the incident, the officer - a major with the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Department - is understood to have made a written complaint to the Army’s top brass and sought an interview with the Army Chief.
The GCM was convened by the Eastern Command to try a lieutenant colonel posted in a military hospital on charges of indulging in private practice while in service and misusing military infrastructure for the same. According to sources, the woman officer was on leave when she was summoned last week along with some case files pertaining to the ongoing trial, presided over by a colonel from the Electronics and Mechanical Engineers.
After the alleged verbal altercation took place, the GCM adjourned and she was infirmed that she was being placed under arrest for contempt of court and was told to remove her cap and belt. She was released next evening on orders by the General Officer Commanding, Bengal Area.
JAG officers say that the act of placing the officer under arrest was illegal because as per provisions of the Army Act and Army Rules, the witness could not have been placed under arrest for contempt of court. Perceived contempt of court on the part of a witness who is subject to the Act has to be reported by the GCM to the individual’s commanding officer or competent authority for initiating requisite action.

Two disaster management battalions for C-Games
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 22
Next year’s Commonwealth Games would among other security arrangements have in place a cover against biological, chemical and radioactive threats. The National Disaster Management would be deploying two battalions trained in handling such disasters.

Though there was no specific alert , the battalions would be deployed as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of over 8,000 sportspersons, officials and thousands of spectators.
National Disaster Management Authority vice-chairman and former Army Staff chief NC Vij said here today that disaster management was all about remaining in a general state of preparedness. “We have raised eight battalions, which are deployed in zones prone to earthquakes and floods. Two of them will be deployed at the Commonwealth Games, scheduled in October next… No, there is no terrorist threat. It’s only a precautionary measure.”
Vij, who belongs to Jammu but mostly remains in Delhi (as he manages the NDMA affairs), enjoys the status of a Union Minister of State. He was here to attend a three-day conference on “Integrating hospitals, safe from disasters”.
The NDMA vice-chairman — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is the chairman — said of all the structures in the country hospitals should be made resilient to earthquakes. “These are the places we need the most after a disaster. They have to be the safest.”
Discussing the paradigm shift in the disaster management policy, Vij said the NDMA aim was not to be caught in a state of non-preparedness during an emergency, if ever. “Though disasters like earthquakes can’t be predicted, we still have (earthquake) prone areas. Also, disasters like floods come without a warning... We are sensitising people to respond on their own so as to ensure minimum loss to life during emergencies.”

Hawker Beechcraft spy planes to help US troops
These planes would be delivered to the troops in Afghanistan around December 25. Hawker Beechcraft planes were ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in April 2008 to increase the number of intelligence gathering aircrafts.

United States Air Force will soon deliver first of 24 new Hawker Beechcraft planes modified for supporting ground troops with high tech snooping devices such as videos, still images and listening to the communications of the enemy.
Hawker Beechcraft planes have twin propellers and they can carry 4 people.

These planes would be delivered to the troops in Afghanistan around December 25. Hawker Beechcraft planes were ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in April 2008 to increase the number of intelligence gathering aircrafts. 

Hawker Beechcraft  planes will support the troops operating in Pakistan, while six of these planes are already flying in Iraq. US air force is setting up stations at in Kandahar, Bagram to receive information from the Hawker Beechcraft planes, which can beam images and videos directly to soldiers on the ground, who have laptop like devices to capture the information.

New Delhi, December 22
Blaming political classes, former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra today said India was handicapped as politicians lack a “national security culture”. “They never give same importance to national security, which is compromised because of electoral politics,” Mishra said.

Speaking at a function to release two books at the observor research foundation (ORF), the former NSA went on to term China as “hegemonistic and very aggressive”, while calling for the right combination of strategic and diplomatic policies that are needed to defend against China’s dangerous designs.
Mishra did not spare his former colleagues as he described bureaucrats as “unguided missiles”, who will not act without guidance from the political leadership. “Substandard clothing and equipment is affecting our jawans badly,” he added.

New Delhi, December 22
In a fresh development in the case involving alleged bending of rules to favour a private company near Siliguri, one of the top officials who had ordered a probe have recommended disciplinary action against the four general-rank officers.

The Court of Inquiry finalised by the General Officer Commanding-in-chief, Eastern Command, Lt Gen VK Singh, has recommended that Military Secretary Lt Gen Avdesh Prakash should be dismisssed from service while two other officers, Lt Gen PK Rath and Lt Gen P Sen, should face a court martial. The fourth officer, Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali, has been blamed for “administrative lapses” and he is to face an administrative action.
The final decision on the recommendations has to be taken by Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor.
The CoI was ordered after it was found that 33 Corps Headquarters near Siliguri had allowed commercial use of land adjacent to the base and even signed an MoU. The names and picture of one of the generals figures on the admission brochure of the educational trust.

Senior Army officer to be sacked for corruption?
Nitin Gokhale, Tuesday December 22, 2009, New Delhi
One of the senior-most Generals in the army, Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash may be fired after a court of inquiry has found him guilty of corruption.

As the army's Military Secretary, Prakash is one of eight principal staff officers to the Army chief.  He reportedly used his  official position to further the commercial interests of a businessman in what's known as the Siliguri Land Scam.   The case relates to the transfer of land next to the Siliguri-based 33 Corps HQ to the businessman.

Prakash's dismissal has been  recommended by the Eastern Army Commander, Lieutenant General VK Singh . Two other generals,  Lieutenant General PK Rath, who was the Commander of 33 Corps, and Major General PC Sen, have also been found guilty, and are likely to face a court martial. A third general, Lieutenant General Ramesh Halagalli, may escape with an official reprimand.

The final decision rests with the Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor.

When asked for a response, the Army had this to say: "The Court of Inquiry proceedings are still under finalization. No comments on the questions raised can be answered at this stage. It is also reiterated that the proceedings of the CoI are of classified nature and any comments on  the case can influence the proceedings of the case at this stage."

3 ceasefire violations in 3 days
NDTV Correspondent, Tuesday December 22, 2009, Jammu
There was heavy exchange of fire between the militants and the BSF after an infiltration bid was foiled in the Samba sector of Jammu. The firing that started on Monday evening at the Kandral border outpost in Jammu's Samba sector went on intermittently through the night.

This was the third ceasefire violation in the last one week.

The BSF said a major infiltration bid was foiled, and while there were no casualties on the Indian side, some militants were injured. But they managed to escape to the Pakistan side of the border.

The BSF is now lodging a strong protest with the Pakistani authorities.

"One or two militants must have suffered injuries, the situation at the moment is under control and peaceful," said A K Surulia, IG, BSF.

On Saturday, one BSF jawan was killed and two injured in cross-border firing at the Kranti post near the Line of Control in Poonch.

"Pakistan is trying to send in large numbers of militants just before the snow blocks the passes on the higher reaches," said J&K DGP, Kuldeep Khuda.

It was yet another infiltration bid foiled on the border; the BSF now say they will come up with an elaborate mechanism of border management, but whether that will serve the purpose is the question.

Sack top Lt Gen in land scam case: Inquiry report
TIME TO ACT: Recommendation sent to General Deepak Kapoor, who will take the final decision.

New Delhi: General Officer Commanding of Eastern Command is reported to have recommended the removal of Military Secretary at the Army Headquarters Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash in connection with the Darjeeling land scam.

Along with Lt Gen Prakash court martial proceedings against Lt Gen PK Rath, current commander of 11 Corps Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali and Major General P Sen have also been recommended by the Court of Inquiry.

Sources said the recommendation has been sent to Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, who will take the final decision.

The recommendation to act against Lt Gen Prakash and the three other officers follows the completion of the Court of Inquiry into a land scam related to 70 acre plot of land close to the Sukhna military base near Darjeeling. .

The top Army officers have been accused of favouring a private body by issuing a 'no-objection certificate' to a private establishment that falsely claimed to be establishing an affiliate of the famed Ajmer-based Mayo College to an Army base near Siliguri.

There were even allegations of forged documents replacing original papers in Army files.

The generals have denied the allegations and the final decision on action against the officers rests with the Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor.

Lt Gen PK Rath's appointment as Deputy Chief of Army Staff has already been scrapped by the Ministry of Defence.

But it is clear with the top brass now indicted in the case pressure will be on the Army to act and act fast.

Firing at border Pak's ploy to push in terrorists
Pawan Bali
TAKING STOCK: BSF personnel patrol along the the border with Pakistan on Tuesday morning.

Jammu: There have been three ceasefire violations in the last three days along the International Border with Pakistan firing on Indian border posts in the Samba sector once again on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

At dawn Border Security Force personnel conducted a search operation along the International Border in Jammu after their post came under fire from machine guns and automatic rifles from across the border.

The firing continued until early Tuesday morning before dying out.

Sources say that a group of around 12-14 terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba are in the area where BSF DIG OP Tanwar was killed on November 16.

The firing incidents bore all the hallmarks of the familiar Pakistani operation to push in as many terrorists as possible into India before the winter makes movement difficult.

"The terrorists are desperate to infiltrate. Arms and ammunition seized have signs of Pakistani involvement," said Jammu and Kashmir DGP Kuldeep Khuda.

Experts have also warned that the stakes for India are much higher this time.

With 25 border incidents recorded until November in Jammu alone experts say Pakistan hopes to raise the temperature on the border with India and use that to justify its refusal to the Americans to begin operations against al-Qaeda elements in North Waziristan.

"It fits into the pattern of telling the Americans and the world that there are tensions on the border. But we should not fall into the trap of the Pakistanis and deal with each incident as it comes," former high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy said.

The incidents also help Indian Army give the impression that rogue elements within Pakistan are trying to provoke a confrontation with India.

The Americans, therefore, should not pressure Pakistan too much to crackdown on Taliban and other terror groups.

If they do so the fabled unity of the Pakistani Army could begin to crack.

President Patil to board INS Viraat today
December 23, 2009 02:14 IST

Patil, the supreme commander of the country's armed forces, will get on board the ship at around 11 am on Wednesday, a spokesman of the Indian Navy said in Mumbai [ Images ].

The President is expected to witness Sukhoi Su-30 and Sea Harrier fighter jets take off from the ship during her three hour stay.

The 28,000-tonne INS Viraat, the Centaur class aircraft carrier, was originally commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes Nov 18, 1959. The Indian Navy acquired it in 1987.

The President also scheduled to attend a Fleet Review early next year.

China bent upon cutting India down to size: Mishra
From ANI

New Delhi, Dec.22: Describing China as hegemonistic and very aggressive, former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra today called on the Indian Government to adopt the right combination of strategic and diplomatic policies to counter Beijing's dangerous designs.

Describing India as the weakest among China's three rivals in Asia - Japan and Australia - Mishra cautioned that China is just waiting for some years before it would assert itself.

Mishra noted that while Japan and Australia have nuclear umbrellas for their protection, India would have to defend itself from two fronts - both China and Pakistan.

"Though both fronts are not active simultaneously now, it is probable and possible that both fronts become active," he said.

Mishra was releasing two books - "The Dragon's Fire: Chinese Military Strategy and Its Implications for Asia" (by Rajeswari Rajagopalan) and "Arming the Indian Arsenal: Challenges and Policy Options" (by Deba Mohanty) published by Observer Research Foundation, a public policy think tank headquartered in Delhi.

Mishra, who was the NSA during the premiership of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said unlike other countries, India is handicapped by the absence of national security culture among politicians who compromised national security because of electoral politics.

"Even 20 years after Bofors scandal, the burden on politicians is still continuing. They are afraid to take decisions because of fear of allegations of corruption. Unless this situation changes, we will never be able to become a great power," Mishra, who is also a Trustee at ORF, warned.

Looking back his long years of service in government, he described bureaucrats as "unguided missiles", who will not act without guidance from the political leadership.

Describing China as "very strong" economically and militarily, Mishra said "China is bent upon cutting India down to size." e said China has become very aggressive against India - at Line of Control, in the writings in official media, think tanks and party media.

Mishra minced no words in saying that you cannot trust China whose only all weather friend is Pakistan. They don't see any other country, including Russia, as its friend, he said.

Mishra also blamed the armed forces for their cumbersome test trials which take years to decide on weapons.

"Substandard clothing and equipment is affecting our jawans badly. Many jawans die in Siachen because of substandard clothing," he said.

Mishra said there is no change in the policy of Pakistan where the Army dictates terms. He said as far as India, Afghanistan and the authority of Army are concerned, it is still the Army which decides in Pakistan, he said.

Chairing the book release event at ORF, Gen. V.P. Malik, President of ORF Institute of Security Studies, said the nexus between the defence PSUs, the Ordnance Board and the Defence Ministry is creating a "protective mindset" which does not facilitate private sector participation in defence production.

Underlining the need for a transparent procurement policy, Gen. Malik, who had to face the Kargil War with "whatever we have", said the absence of a "stated defence procurement policy" was a big problem in meeting the requirements of the forces.

Gen. Malik said there is an urgent need to include defence economists in integrated defence planning.

He also warned against the territorial ambitions of China where it appeared to be a gap between the Peoples Liberation Army and the political leadership.

Brig. (Retd) Gurmeet Kanwal, Director of the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, said though there is a strategic stability along the India-China borders, there is aggressiveness at the tactical level.

Noting that the gap between the capabilities of India and China are growing in favour of our big neighbour, he opined that it is better to resolve the border disputes quickly because China would be capable of dictating terms in 15 years from now.

India and Japan: Strengthening Defence Co-operation
Rajaram Panda

December 22, 2009

The forthcoming two-day visit of Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to India on December 28-29, 2009 for a summit with his Indian counterpart is paving the way for the deepening of the bilateral relationship. Hatoyama’s talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will possibly cover topics including an economic partnership agreement between the two countries and measures against global warming and terrorism.

The new Japanese Prime Minister’s India visit is coming on the heels of Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s visit to Japan on November 8-10, 2009, thus reinforcing the message that Hatoyama’s foreign policy is Asia-centric. Indeed, even before election to the lower house on August 30, Hatoyama’s op-ed in the New York Times questioned the continuance of US-led globalism, contending that there is an ongoing movement away from a unipolar world led by the United States and towards an era of multipolarity. Evidence that Hatoyama was shaping a foreign policy for Japan that focuses more on Asia and downplays the country’s excessive dependence on the United States came sharply when Hatoyama floated the idea of an East Asian Community while visiting China and South Korea in October 2009.

The importance of Antony’s November visit to Japan should, therefore, be seen in the light of India’s response to Hatoyama’s deepening engagement with Asia. Given growing convergence between India and Japan on security and strategic issues, Antony responded to the invitation of his Japanese counterpart, Toshimi Kitazawa, to visit Japan and in the process became the first Cabinet Minister to visit Japan after the DPJ took power. During their meeting, the defence ministers reviewed the on-going defence related interactions and explored ways to enhance such exchanges for mutual benefit. Antony discussed the issue of conducting joint exercises between the two armed forces and exchange of students in their respective defence training institutions. The possibilities of co-ordination of efforts in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and other maritime security challenges also dominated the discussion.

India-Japan bilateral security and defence co-operation is guided by the Joint Statement issued by their Defence Ministers in May 2006 and the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation issued during the visit of Manmohan Singh to Japan in October 2008. In the Joint Statement issued on November 10, 2009, India and Japan resolved to strengthen joint anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Indeed, the two navies are already involved in co-ordinated anti-piracy operations, sharing the burden of patrolling in the Gulf of Aden. Recognising their mutual interest in the safety of sea lanes, they decided to extend co-operation in the field of maritime security, especially in the area of combating piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden. The two ministers also condemned terrorist activities and expressed their determination to enhance co-operation in the fight against terrorism. The negotiation on a Defence Action Plan (DAP) is already at an advanced stage and is expected to be signed during Hatoyama’s forthcoming visit.

Antony and Kitazawa consented to step up defence co-operation, including joint military exercises, bilateral and regional co-operation in peacekeeping, disaster relief and the ASEAN Regional Forum. With this agreement, the two ministers gave a “facelift to the existing bilateral defence cooperation.” Quoting anonymous authoritative sources, The Hindu said the two countries “were keen on finalizing the (defence) action plan.” The idea of a DAP was first conceived during Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan in October 2008.

The defence ministers of India and Japan also condemned terrorism, underscoring the need to intensify joint operations in the fight against this global menace. According to Mahindra Singh, a defence analyst in New Delhi, the focus on Indo-Japanese strategic ties is part of India’s efforts to counter China’s growing influence in the region. He also says that Japan’s and India’s overdependence on Arabian Gulf oil and the need to ensure its smooth flow is another driver. The joint statement appropriately outlined these issues by stating their “common interest in the safety of sea lines of communications.” The agreement coincided with Japan’s decision to provide $5 billion in fresh aid to Afghanistan despite plans to recall refuelling ships supporting US-led forces there.

It is worth noting that during the first-ever visit to Japan by an Indian Defence Minister, that of George Fernandes in January 2000, he had clearly emphasized on the importance of developing defence co-operation between the two countries. After Hatoyama assumed power, the same Fernandes who is a Rajya Sabha member now, pleaded with the Manmohan Singh government to build meaningful relations with Hatoyama. Writing in OtherSide, Fernandes observed: “India can develop a truly meaningful relationship with Prime Minister Hatoyama although I also learned that his Foreign Minister is considerably pro-China. Perhaps we can turn this into an opportunity of a good China-Japan-India relationship which I had discussed with many friends during my many visits to Japan. Eastern Civilization and culture have much to offer the world if we forget for a short time the ugly part of geo-politics and power games.”

Besides expressing a desire to hold annual meetings, the two ministers agreed to work towards the realization of the visit of Japan’s Minister of Defence to India at the earliest mutually convenient time. It was also agreed to hold the second Defence Policy Dialogue in New Delhi some time in 2010. As regards comprehensive security dialogue (CSD) and military-to-military talks, it was agreed to hold the next CSD and Military-to-Military talks sometime in 2010 in Tokyo (the 6th CSD meeting was held in February 2009 in India). The very fact that India’s Chief of the Naval Staff visited Japan in August 2008 and the Chief of Army Staff visited Japan to participate in the Pacific Army Chiefs Conference (PACC) in August 2009 demonstrates the evolving defence co-operation between the two countries.

Consensus exists in both countries for co-operation in the securing of sea lanes of communication as well as in working towards disaster relief operations. The recent bilateral and multilateral exercises such as “Malabar 07-02” held in the Bay of Bengal in September 2007, and “Malabar 09” held in the eastern sea of Okinawa in April 2009 demonstrate their mutual commitment to take defence co-operation to a higher plane. The holding of the 2nd Navy-to-Navy Staff Talks between the Maritime SDF (MSDF) and the Indian Navy in October 2009 in Japan was a logical extension of such co-operation in the defence field.

Exchanges of students and researchers between the two respective defence institutions is another dimension of defence co-operation between any two countries and it is but appropriate that the importance of this aspect has been realized by the leaders of India and Japan. As a result, plans are afoot for sending students and researchers from Japan Ministry of Defence/SDF to the Indian National Defence College, Defence Services Staff College and other defence institutions in India, and from India to the Regular Courses of the National Institute for Defence Studies and other defence institutions in Japan in the spirit of reciprocity. It will be of advantage to both if this idea is soon institutionalized.

The Japan-India Maritime Security Dialogue was inaugurated in October 2009 and held in India. The main objective of this dialogue is to co-ordinate efforts to ensure safety of navigation in the relevant areas. As regards peace-keeping/peace-building and disaster relief, both India and Japan worked closely in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights and want to strengthen such practical co-operation.

Besides, both countries have realised the importance of conducting mutual exchanges between their respective Peacekeeping operations organisations, such as Japan’s Central Readiness Force and the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in India. Indeed, India accepts participation of Japanese officers at the training course of the CUNPK in February 2009.

These developments suggest that there is a growth trajectory in defence co-operation between the two countries, complemented by the burgeoning economic relationship providing robustness to the partnership. Hatoyama is no stranger to India, having visited India as the leader of opposition in the Lower House of the Japanese Diet, when Atal Behari Vajpayee was Prime Minister. At that time, the terrorist attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly building and on the Indian Parliament had disturbed peace in the subcontinent. When Hatoyama’s visit to India was being planned in such an atmosphere, India decided to convince him not to visit Pakistan, as is the usual practice of anyone visiting South Asia. Even as some of his men had begun talking about a visit to Pakistan, Hatoyama graciously agreed to India’s suggestion and avoided that trip. Hatoyama’s forthcoming visit to India as the Prime Minister of Japan will usher the year 2010 with a new chapter for India-Japan relations to blossom in their comprehensiveness.

The Army’s Subculture in the Coming Decade
Ali Ahmed

December 22, 2009

A decade is long enough to leave an imprint of change on any institution, including those generally regarded as conservative, such as the army. While informed commentary is plenty on the operational and technological environment, there is little on the cultural aspect. This article dwells on the challenges and likely changes in the Indian Army’s subculture as it navigates the coming decade.

The changes in equipment profile through impending acquisitions, organisational expansion in terms of inducting a mountain strike corps, technological absorption of net centricity, and doctrinal innovation reflected in the army’s doctrine, would all no doubt continue in the coming decade. The problems that remain would continue to attract attention, such as assimilating the impact of nuclearisation on warfighting; furthering jointness; competing for bureaucratic space, etc. However, despite the importance of these issues, the major change would instead be in the sphere of military subculture.

Even as the military as a social entity has witnessed considerable change since liberalisation, such as induction of women officers into the army, it has retained its distinct identity. But this is likely to come under assault from changes occurring within society which are predicted to speed up considerably over the coming decade. The conclusion therefore is that the army would do well to be forewarned and therefore proactive, instead of being defensive and buffeted by these changes.

The Army’s record of coping with change has been impressive so far. Each of the preceding decades since Independence has left a mark. The fifties witnessed the development of the remarkable apolitical character of the Army, for which General Cariappa was retrospectively elevated to Field Marshal. To the sixties can be dated the Army’s professionalism. This flowed from the army’s expansion, particularly in emergency commission into the officer cadre, the passing on by decade end of the reins of the army to IMA-commissioned officers, and the learning experience of a loss and a draw in two wars. These changes resulted in the triumph of 1971, but which in its wake left the remainder of the decade look like a jaded anticlimax. The transformation through the eighties has been possibly the greatest change in a single decade. The main features were mechanisation and, secondly, a greater willingness to use force, be it conventionally in Siachen, subconventionally in Punjab, in out-of-area operations in Sri Lanka, or in exercises such as Digvijay and Brasstacks. In the nineties, the army was only ‘officially at peace’, to quote a Chief of the period, and by decade end had fought what may yet turn out as the first limited war of the nuclear era. Coming to terms early with the changed context, the first decade of this millennium has been one of doctrinal and organisational adaptation.

The coming decade bears comparison with the sixties and eighties; decades that saw expansion in the midst of social change. Lessons from the responses in both instances may prove useful. Traditional military anticipation, caution and preparation should help meet the challenge of the onrushing decade.

The changing social landscape will impact the army. The most significant aspect is that the promise of liberalisation has ensured high economic growth. This has been transformational for India, evident from changes in entrepreneurial energy, political concerns, aspirations, and shifts in the urban and rural landscape, youth attitudes and social mores. India is looking to leverage the demographic dividend of its youthful profile to gain great power status over the decade.

The army has been responsive to these developments. It has taken steps such as catering to higher aspirations by implementing the A.V. Singh committee proposals and insisting on a fair pay commission package for its members and veterans. With higher budgets, its cantonments have the look of modern townships and there are additional married quarters. The format for interaction with the soldiery has changed over the last decade. It is more attuned to self-esteem needs, reflected in institutes such as NCO Clubs, Sainik Institutes and conduct of functions like Sainik Sammelans and Barakhanas. Thinking on how to manage the marital relationships better is ongoing, particularly with the profile of the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) coming under judicial scrutiny over the last decade.

The direction of the future is in moving from authoritarian to a democratic leadership model; privileging and respecting specialisation; preserving institutionalism in the face of an expanding occupational ethic; and remaining in sync with changes in society. Some areas that require intervention are highlighted here.

Firstly, societal queries about the ‘peace dividend’ are likely to arise. Even as the region is currently unstable, it is possible that with increasing prosperity society would move towards a ‘war less’ one as obtains in developed states. And it would not like to put its economic gains at military risk. The long awaited ‘trickle down’ effect may catch on, plateauing out India’s insurgencies. With the precedent set by Op Green Hunt of increased reliance on central police forces for internal problems, the military would be able to concentrate on its core functions. The manner in which the border is currently being held is also likely to end. The implications for the army are that it would be nudged from ‘war readiness’ to a ‘war deterrent’ state. This would mean downsizing, increasing manpower efficiencies, higher per capita manpower costs, a ‘capability’ as opposed to a ‘threat’ based force, and a shift in the internal balance away from the infantry and armoured corps.

Secondly, recruitment could prove a site for competition, particularly given increasing self-selection to the soldier’s occupation by hitherto under-represented regions and communities. Increasing revenue budgets imply greater transfers through the pay cheque into local economies. The army would need technology savvy manpower, perhaps from urban centres. The regimental system may get a rethink. Communities traditionally providing manpower may not continue to be the source of recruitment. The controversy over the Sachar Committee’s query on army recruiting figures of Muslims prefigures a possible future. Instead of affirmative action, information strategies bringing the army as an employment opportunity to such sections is desirable.

Thirdly, increasing representation of women in the officer corps, to handle technology intensive armament and management functions would heighten quality. Their average qualifications are of a higher threshold than those of male candidate applicants. The jobs that they can tenant in the future army are many. This implies that the glass ceiling may be pushed upwards, as elsewhere in all modern armies. The present restriction of fourteen years service, based as it is on the army’s ambivalence on whether a woman officer should tenant command appointments as colonels, would require review. This aspect would clash with the army’s intended switch to an officer profile in which the NDA officer is in for the long haul, while the short service commission would exit at mid-career level.

Universally, armies have a conservative social orientation. In this perspective, ferment in society is seen negatively, reinforcing a tendency for preserving the martial space from intrusion from without. Insularity has its underside. The antidote is openness. The army trying to hull-down as an anachronistic island of social conservatism would render it susceptible to political forces that similarly look askance at change. Also, the privilege system may require review in light of better emoluments. Lifestyle changes that do not rely on soldiery furnishing officer privileges need to be instituted, top-down. The suggested parameter for non-operational tasks is that manpower be employed only for tasks in which the benefit directly accrues to them. The traditional, paternalistic, relationship with the soldiery has changed for a transactional style in the technical arms. This is inevitable in the fighting arms too. Presently, there is considerable scope for exercising a personalised leadership model. This creates dissonance in subordinates. An institutionalized style needs to be encouraged, so that there is a reasonable predictability in senior-subordinate relationships.

The sister services are ahead in this regard and their experience have a few lessons. The fresh winds from peacekeeping duties and from the expanded and multifarious experience on military exercises with foreign armies need to be harvested. Army War College in conjunction with College of Defence Management could act as a resource centre for the direction and design of cultural change. It could answer the question as to how a warrior ethic can be nurtured even as shifts occur towards a managerial style. The primary instrument for building the constituency for change would be the military education system. A review of how this could be best used can form part of the study. The study leave system could be so directed as to tap the thinking in corporate schools and technology management institutions. A higher leadership that has a greater proportion of soldier-scholars may be useful in managing the change.

The usual disdain of the tumult in civil society, fashionable in military circles, needs to be tempered. The ongoing RMA in slow motion can only complete itself in a contemporaneous army, and the army would have to make a conscious effort to remain so.


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