Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites

Loading

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

From Today's Papers - 20 Oct 2015

















http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/no-4-red-ink-exit-for-army-men-sc/148272.html
No ‘4-red ink’ exit for Army men: SC
R Sedhuraman

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 19
The Supreme Court has ruled that army personnel could be dismissed or discharged from service only on the basis of an impartial inquiry, not merely for getting four red ink entries.

A three-member Bench headed by Justice TS Thakur pointed out that under the Army Rules 1953 soldiers enjoyed certain “inbuilt safeguards” against discharge from service based on four red ink entries.

“The first and foremost (safeguard) is an unequivocal declaration that mere award of four red ink entries to an individual does not make his discharge mandatory. This implies that four red ink entries is not some kind of laxman rekha which if crossed would by itself render the individual concerned undesirable or unworthy of retention in the force,” it ruled.

The Bench delivered the verdict after a detailed analysis of Section 22 of the Army Act 1950 and the 1953 rules, instructions and procedures. The other members of the Bench were Justices V Gopala Gowda and R Banumathi.

Acknowledging that Rule 13 did not in specific terms envisage an inquiry or provide for consideration of various factors, the apex court pointed out that at the same time this rule did not make it mandatory for the competent authority to discharge an individual just because he had been awarded four red ink entries.

“The threshold of four red ink entries as a ground for discharge has no statutory sanction. Its genesis lies in administrative instructions issued on the subject,” the Bench ruled while rejecting government’s contention that the instructions and procedure were in excess of what was mandated under the rules and as such did not confer any right to inquiry on personnel who had four red marks.

“The instructions cannot be faulted on the ground that the instructions concede to the individual more than what is provided for by the rule. The instructions are aimed at ensuring a non-discriminatory, fair and non-arbitrary application of the statutory rule,” the Bench said.

Explaining its logic, the SC said red ink entries suffered by two soldiers for overstaying leave for one week and six months could not be treated on the same footing. “If two persons who suffer such entries are treated similarly notwithstanding the gravity of the offence being different, it would be unfair and unjust, for unequals cannot be treated as equals.”

The Bench made the clarifications while allowing an appeal by Veerendra Kumar Dubey who had been discharged on December 14, 1992, from the corps of Artillery as he got four red ink entries in 12 years since his enrolment as an Operator in September 1980.

Army had given him a show cause notice to which he said he overstayed his leave for the first time due to his wife’s illness and the second time because of his own health problem. The Bench said an inquiry should have been held instead of discharging him after merely rejecting his reply to the notice.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/us-denies-any-civil-nuclear-deal-with-pak/148368.html
US denies any civil nuclear deal with Pak
Washington, October 19
Ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's meeting with President Barack Obama, the US today downplayed reports of a "breakthrough" civil nuclear deal with Pakistan.

"About the sort of reports that the United States and Pakistan were planning a (civil nuclear deal) -- or published reports indicated that there may be a breakthrough in this regard, and I would significantly reduce your expectations about that occurring on Thursday," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Earnest said Obama is looking forward to welcoming the Pakistani Prime Minister to the White House later this week.

"There are a range of issues that are important for us to discuss, including the announcement that the president made last week about our strategy in Afghanistan moving forward," he said. — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/nato-launches-biggest-military-exercise-in-13-years/148369.html
NATO launches biggest military exercise in 13 years
Trapani (Italy): NATO is launching its biggest military exercise in 13 years, mobilising 36,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen from more than 30 countries to test the alliance's ability to respond to new security threats. NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow told the opening ceremony today that the Trident Juncture exercise will demonstrate that NATO "can deal with everything from conventional military engagements to more subtle hybrid warfare techniques and propaganda." AP

11 killed in Pakistan bus blast           

Quetta: At least 11 persons were killed and many more wounded on Monday when a powerful bomb exploded in a passenger bus in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province. The explosion came as night fell and labourers working in central Quetta left for their homes on the outskirts of the city, which has frequently been targeted by Islamists and separatist insurgents. A police official and a doctor at the city's main hospital confirmed the causalities. AFP



http://swarajyamag.com/politics/armed-struggle-sorting-out-indian-defence-procurement/
How Indian Military Acquisitions Are Changing And Why That’s A Good Thing
In 1940, legendary Indian industrialist Walchand Hirachand struck a deal with an American businessman to produce combat aircraft in India. One of the investors in the project was the Maharaja of Mysore, who agreed to invest Rs 25 lakh and also gave 700 acres of land free for the project. Just eight months later Hindustan Aircraft flight tested its first product, a trainer aircraft. And then the British pulled the plug.

Sumit K. Majumdar explains what happened. In his book India’s Late, Late Industrial Revolution: Democratizing Entrepreneurship, he says:

    “The British government in Whitehall tried to scuttle the project because Indian firms were not considered capable enough to manufacture combat aircraft…..Hindustan Aircraft was taken over by the government in 1942.”

India got independence in 1947 but the government of Jawaharlal Nehru retained the same level of hostility towards private Indian enterprise. Here’s what noted Gandhian Acharya Kripalani said on the defence budget in Parliament in 1957:

    “The mounting expenses on the army must be cut down. The followers of Gandhi and adherents of universal peace should not increase military expenditure.”

Five years later when the Chinese attack caught India napping, the same Kripalani was calling for heads to roll. It never occurred to him that he was one of the playmakers of the debacle.

Muddled thinking and Gandhian attitudes clearly played a role in stunting the growth of India’s defence industry for decades, but the real reason India continues to import high-octane hardware lies elsewhere. “Preferential treatment of the public sector is the single most important reason,” Major General (retired) Mrinal Suman told this writer. “With assured orders and a captive customer base, the public sector never felt the need to exert and modernise.”

Suman, an expert on defence procurement and procedures, heads the Defence Technical Assessment and Adivsory Service of the Confederation of Indian Industry. He writes in an earlier article:

    “Militaries seek to maintain a well-balanced equipment profile at all times. Perhaps, a mix of 30 per cent modern, 40 per cent matured and 30 per cent obsolescent equipment. Disconcertingly, in our case, as much as 85 per cent of the equipment with the Indian military today is decades-old and needs to be replaced/upgraded.”

Procurement nightmare

With neighbours like China and Pakistan, India’s armed forces do need high-octane military hardware. But here’s the rub: not only are we overwhelmingly dependent on imports, but the approvals for everything – from snow boots to fighter jets – have to grind their way through a notoriously slow procurement bureaucracy. This can cause peculiar problems.

To illustrate, in the 1950s when Pakistan received brand new Sabre and Starfighter jets from the US, India rushed to acquire outdated aircraft such as the Hunter, Ouragon and Mystere from Britain and France. Not surprisingly, during the 1965 War these British-French aircraft became easy targets for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

Again, in the early 1980s, in response to the American sale of the F-16 to Pakistan, India decided to go for the French Mirage 2000. But realising Mirage 2000 deliveries wouldn’t happen until 1987, even as the F-16s were flying into Islamabad, India opted to buy the MiG-29 from Russia.

Basically, Pakistan was accepting what was available and its generals were being proactive about it. On the other hand, the Indian procurement nightmare was on, with MoD bureaucrats acting like clueless zombies.
Import lobby

Perhaps it was less zombie and more acting – aimed at bilking the exchequer to the tune of hundreds of billions of rupees.

Take the selection of a new rifle for the Indian Army. After cancelling an Indian design, the army has invited foreign vendors to supply 66,000 new rifles for an estimated $3 billion to $4 billion.

Danvir Singh, former Commanding Officer of the Indian Army, writes in Indian Defence Review that he is in no doubt the deal is gamed:

    “It should come as no surprise if probed, that there are forces supported by the politico-bureaucratic-military nexus serving the designs of the arms mafia, who deliberately want this indigenous effort quashed. It may be surprising, but not really though, that our scientists can develop and launch a probe to Mars but fail to produce an assault rifle.”

Indeed, almost every weapon produced by the DRDO has been rejected by the defence forces, forcing the government to release funds for imports. Take the Augusta Westland scandal. Initially, former air chief marshal S.P. Tyagi was under investigation for allegedly tweaking the technical requirements of VVIP helicopters. Later it transpired that the specifications were changed on the orders of Brajesh Mishra, the National Security Adviser, who was reporting directly to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The scandal shows that it is in the interests of a clique comprising the military brass, politicians and middlemen to scuttle indigenous defence projects. R.S.N. Singh, a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing, writes in Canary Trap about the Chandigarh Gang that surfaced as the “mainstay of the international arms lobby” during the decade long UPA rule. “This gang is not necessarily in Chandigarh alone, but nevertheless is centered around it,” Singh writes. “It comprises some retired officers, politicians, journalists and prominent newspapers.”
Offsets: How successful?

The government’s new procurement policy is banking on offsets to breathe new life into the Indian defence industry. But the key problem with offsets is the enormity of the purchases. India is expected to import over $100 billion worth of equipment in the next five years, so the offsets are in the region of $30 billion.

Because government companies monopolise India’s defence industry, and until now the private sector was kept at a distance, foreign vendors were unsure if the Indian defence industry could absorb such huge offsets. The foreign arms manufacturers, with powerful lobbyists working for them, wanted India to widen the scope of offset activities to include fields that were unrelated to defence. For instance, France could theoretically sell us $10 billion worth of aircraft and purchase $3 billion worth of potatoes in lieu. Yes, it’s a bit farfetched idea, but you get the picture.

According to Suman, 19 offset contracts worth Rs 16,000 crore were signed between 2006 and 2012 – fourteen for air force purchases and five for naval hardware. As all contracts entailed export of “low-tech components/sub-assemblies” Indian industry did not gain at all, he points out.
New deal: Make in India

All militaries in the world seek the best equipment they can get. In reality they fight with the best equipment they have. After splurging on gold plated weapons for decades, the Indian military is facing up to that reality.

With Make in India now gaining traction, the days of multibillion dollar defence deals are over. This will have major implications for the defence forces, foreign weapons manufacturers, contractors and Indian industry.

One of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first major decisions was to downsize the $20 billion-plus Rafale contract. This was a signal to the armed forces that from here on they have to look at homebuilt options. Like it or not, the Indian Air Force will have to accept the Tejas light combat aircraft. Similarly, the Indian Army can no longer reject the home built howitzer. (Thankfully, the Indian Navy has embraced indigenisation with open arms.)

Modi is right in pushing Make in India because an insane amount of money is involved here. Due to the need for updated equipment, India is set to undertake one of the largest procurement cycles in the world. India’s armed forces are projected to buy weaponry worth over $150 billion in the next 10 years, and more than $100 billion of those purchases will be directed towards domestic companies.

Recognising the potential in defence, a number of private companies have rushed in. Here’s a short list:

*Anil Ambani’s Reliance Aerospace is in talks with Russian Helicopters to manufacture 200 Kamov-226T helicopters in India in a deal worth Rs 6,500 crore. The number of choppers could potentially go up to 400 choppers.

*Tata Advanced Systems will be the lead production agency for making 40 C-295 Airbus aircraft in India in a deal worth Rs12,000 crore.

*Mahindra Defence Naval Systems has tied up with the UK’s Ultra Electronics to build equipment for underwater warfare.

* Anil Ambani is partnering with Germany’s Atlas Elektronik GmbH to make an advanced torpedo in India.

*Larsen & Toubro is investing $400 million into a yard to build ships for the navy.

*Hindustan Aeronautics will offload large chunks of the Tejas programme to 12 large private sector players. The move will increase production and delivery rates to the IAF.
Government to government

To be sure, while tweaking its defence procurement policy there’s no need for India to re-invent the wheel. “In today’s world, even the United States and Russia don’t create airplanes and helicopters from scratch, but actively use components from other countries,” Oleg Panteleev, head of Russia’s Analytical Services Agency, says in an interview with Russia & India Report.

“India’s challenge is not to do everything on its own, but to reach competency as an integrator. To become the party that develops the overall product, but takes certain components and elements ready-made, getting the best deal, while saving time and money. Each unit signifies unique technological and costly solutions and knowhow, and neither India, nor more prosperous countries, can afford to deal with every single thing.”

Last week, India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) announced that it was looking at the S-400 air defence system made in Russia. Since the missile system has no analogues and India is wiser after the drawn out Rafale drama – it was a commendable decision not to go for a global tender. The DAC has done the same with the Apache and Chinook helicopters and American howitzers.

Strategic deals such as the lease of the Akula-II submarine from Russia is yet another example of procurement in the fast lane. The point is to avoid the rigidity of the A.K. Antony years when the Defence Ministry avoided taking decisions for some inexplicable reason.
China syndrome

Quantity has a quality all its own. This is best illustrated by China’s laborious efforts at building a vast defence industrial ecosystem that is now capable of delivering bleeding edge systems including stealth aircraft.

In the 1960s after its break with Russia, the Chinese had to go it alone. Today China is almost self-sufficient, with advanced aircraft engines being one of the few categories they haven’t yet mastered. Where the Chinese lack quality, they make up for that with raw numbers.

India’s procurement nightmare will end when it will be able to emulate the Chinese model. Having a solid defence industry means you won’t worry about war attrition.

You lose a Tejas, no worries, order a new one that same afternoon. India can send in swarms of these $30 million jets –with top cover provided by the Su-30MKI – deep into Pakistan and overwhelm enemy air defences.

On the other hand, you have Pakistan which threw in the towel during the 1965 War when its hardware – or morale – ran low because it couldn’t easily replace its war losses.

There is another lesson from that war – brand new isn’t necessarily better. Poorly trained Pakistan tank crews couldn’t use their latest Pattons to full effect whereas India’s tankmen who were familiar with their outdated Centurions were able to take that all important shot. The upshot: in key battles, the Indian Army beat the living daylights out of the better equipped Pakistan Army.
Final test

Although the defence sector looks promising, these are early days yet. According to the procurement website Defense Industry Daily:

    “Ultimately, the real question in India is the extent of true domestic competition for defense funding. Will the new government open the market sufficiently to allow the private sector to compete and win, resulting in greater non-public sector investment in R&D and production capabilities? The circumstances seem favourable: this government is more committed to competition, has a more instinctive understanding of for-profit industry, and harbours greater awareness of the severe capacity constraints of the traditional public sector undertakings.”

It is through this prism that industry should consider its opportunities. “The desire for more indigenous development and production will continue in an avowedly nationalist government,” DID concludes. “Nevertheless, global defence firms may be able to develop deeper and more fruitful partnerships with emerging private sector defence firms in India, perhaps even leading to greater exports of Indian content – much praised, but rarely experienced to date.”

(Rakesh Krishnan Simha is a New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst, with a special interest in defence and military history. He is a columnist with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta group, Moscow, and Modern Diplomacy, a Europe-based foreign affairs portal.)

http://www.asianage.com/india/army-court-inquiry-probe-harassment-case-882
Army: Court of inquiry to probe harassment case
The Army on Monday said a court of inquiry has been convened for detailed investigation of the case wherein a young woman army officer of the rank of Captain — who had taken part in the Republic Day parade this year to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ (woman power) — had filed a sexual harassment case against her commanding officer, an officer of the rank of colonel. The Army promised that “any instance of such misdemeanour will not be condoned.”

Army sources said, “Post receipt of complaint from a woman officer of sexual harassment against an ex-commanding officer, the standing committee led by another woman officer had carried out preliminary investigations. On completion and submission of report by the standing committee a court of inquiry has been convened for detailed investigation of the case. Based on findings of the court, appropriate action will be taken as per law. The Indian Army remains committed to upholding highest standards of ethical behaviour by all ranks. Any instance of such misdemeanour will not be condoned.”

The Army’s “Complaints Committee on Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace” had earlier swung into action and orders had been issued by the Army for “necessary action” against the concerned Colonel as per rules with an opportunity to be given to him to “give an explanation” for his actions.

The woman officer’s father had written a letter to defence minister Manohar Parrikar accusing the “higher officers” of giving the Colonel a “plum posting” in the name of taking action. “I am the proud father of an Army officer who marched down the Rajpath this year to showcase the “woman power.” I am absolutely disappointed today and the reason is that my daughter was sexually harassed by her commanding officer and she complained to the higher ups.”

In the name of taking action, the higher officials gave him a plum posting and before leaving the unit, the commanding officer decided to tarnish the image of my child. Now my little child is trying her best to not let her head drop,” the letter by her father said.

“If this is the way the Indian Army treats its daughters, I am not sure if any parent will ever send their daughter to the Army,” the lady-officer’s anguished father had further written to the defence minister.

http://www.ibnlive.com/blogs/india/lt-gen-syed-ata-hasnain/why-the-indian-army-handles-stress-better-than-all-other-armies-14405-1153882.html
Why the Indian Army handles stress better than all other armies
A commentary on Indian society and the Indian Army's Regimentation; why this support system for soldiers is still the best

The trigger for this piece is a question from a Facebook friend, to whom I am most thankful. The question alluded to reasons why Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is so rampant in the US and indeed other Armies operating in areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq and in the same light what is the experience of the Indian Army with PTSD in our operational areas. This is as good a question as any and why it never struck me to write on this earlier beats me. Perhaps I am just presumptuous and I take our Army for granted just as so many others among my countrymen do. A saving grace is that in 2011 while in command of 15 Corps in Kashmir I instituted a study to examine stress levels in my Corps which undoubtedly has the highest level of operational engagements anywhere in the Army. 7000 officers and men were given an instrument by my outstanding medical staff, whose contributions remain a little unsung in the world of machismo and a bit of 'ramboism'. The reason for this was the run of suicides we were hit with. The study did help the Army’s outstanding doctors to arrive at various reasons for suicides but that is not the subject of this essay although I do not wish to underplay the findings. The study helped me as an individual to arrive at my own reasons for the levels of stress or lack of it in operational areas all over the Army's vast deployment.

Let me describe three scenarios from my own operational experience. The first is from Op Pawan, the IPKF's long drawn deployment in India’s first out of area operation (OOAP). The second is from the LoC where I take the case of a unit deployed in a mode to ensure the sanctity of the LoC (which essentially means, no change to its current status, which in turn means that not an inch of the territory in our control should change ownership) and prevent any infiltration of terrorists from POK. And, the third is of an RR unit deployed in depth but close to a forested area with population centres nearby in Kashmir. These are classic examples of the way Infantry and some other Arms function in operational areas.
After the blood and gore of the intense phase of operations in the Jaffna Peninsula in Oct-Jan 1987 the IPKF settled to more routine counter insurgency (CI) operations. There was really nothing routine about them because the LTTE's well-trained cadres fought almost like regulars and less like militants. Units were deployed in company groups at operating bases (COBs) with an area of responsibility. The LTTE could muster as many as 100-200 men at a given point and if ambushed could actually conduct counter ambush drills to break the ambush, quite unlike militants. Their own ambushes were well sited, in large numbers and almost always accompanied by IEDs. Patrols which went out could not let down their guard even within hundred meters from the gate of their posts. Units which remained inside posts without dominating their periphery suffered because the approaches were mined by daring young tigers that crept up as close as ten meters from posts. Trees were booby trapped as were bushes. On the coastline near the town of Mullaitivu an attempt to occupy posts with 20 men or so met with response from 50 or more militants, leading to the Army suffering heavy casualties. Leave parties left and arrived once in three weeks when the road was opened and there was no certainty about reaching destinations without an engagement. As a company commander, if I went on an operation with two platoons I always remained worried about the state of security at my COB where only 20 men were left. Equally when I was at the COB I was always ready to rush for reinforcement of any other company or my own men out on operations. So what can be expected in such an environment except a severe state of tension especially since failure meant loss of quite a few lives. The Indian Army takes casualties with much concern and a high loss of lives without commensurate infliction of higher losses on the adversary is hugely frowned upon, leading to even accusations of inaction and cowardice on part of officers. An entry such as this in your CR means the end of career.
The LoC deployment is in posts and picquets and in some places can be as low as eight men. In the Uri sector is a high altitude area of height 14000 feet and more where snow levels top 35 feet and the area of approximately a company plus (functionally 120 men) is cut off for six months. Extremely difficult evacuation of sick soldiers or casualties by helicopter is possible only with severe risk. The evacuation of small posts to reach the mother post before heavy snow sets in is always fraught with danger and is a unit commander’s nightmare. That leaves routes open which terrorists could sneak through with risk only terrorists can take. Every year a few frozen bodies of dead terrorists are found. In summer, isolated posts can be attacked by Pakistan regulars mixed with terrorists (BAT teams). So can our logistics parties which carry out advance winter stocking for almost six months and move on predictable routes every day, be ambushed en route by shallow raiding Pakistan elements. By day it is essential to carry out snow clearance in winter. In summer there is the challenge of carrying water from sources which keep receding to a far distance (there is no system of bottled water in the Army). Then comes night and four to six man ambushes have to be deployed along the LoC fence from last light to well after first light. To ensure the right density a major part of the sub unit remains deployed along the LoC Fence and the remaining personnel ensure the security of the post.

A brief description of the functioning of RR units on the CT grid is outlined. Every RR unit has its peculiar area of operations. The threat is of standoff fire by terrorists or sneak attacks on posts and not large scale attacks of the LTTE kind. In today’s environment the RR unit’s source of tension is more from bandhs and stone throwing mobs which target their vehicles or patrols. Quick thinking independent decisions are required from junior leaders keeping propriety in mind and degree of response. Small vehicle convoys have been targeted by mobs leaving soldiers in quandary over the need to fire or not to save themselves and Government property. The pressure for results in urban areas and nearby forests is ever present and unit commanders drive their troops to ensure domination and control, gain intelligence and execute innovative operations while seeking contact. I would classify tension here as high but lower than the LoC where threat to life and possibility of adverse contact is far higher.

The tour of duty for Indian soldiers is usually two to three years; that of troops of western armies is six months. Despite terrain constraints the western armies depend far more on helicopter support for logistics and even for bail outs in adverse tactical situations; not so in the Indian Army except for casualty evacuation. The Indian soldier as much as the western one does not fear for his life, but prevailing uncertainty and lack of rest are two major factors for stress. Climatic conditions in high altitude areas can be a major source of tension and if soldiers fear anything it is the effects of climate. Avalanches top the list. In Sri Lanka where operational conditions were far more life threatening I used to look into the eyes of my soldiers and draw solace from that; hardly ever did I find fear writ on their faces. If there was it was due to the possibility of being isolated or detached from the subunit. The necessity of buddy contact was essential. One does not fear for life but of being detached from the subunit or being taken prisoner. What is remarkable is the complete lack of emotions to losses of even close buddies in operations. Our soldiers take the disorder of battle extremely well as well as deprivation of comforts. I always emphasized on the need for ‘sleep/rest management’ of the soldiers because that is an area which is usually neglected by the leadership. Soldiers cannot be expected to function 24x7 but the demands of their responsibility expect exactly that. On the LoC night and day is the same in terms of alert.

There are cases of suicides but hardly ever is this work related. The availability of the mobile phone acts as the biggest threat. In the tense environment of the LoC or RR related operations bad news from home can act as a trigger. In many such instances it is young soldiers unable to bear the additional tension of problems at home; problems as seemingly irrelevant as a newlywed wife unable to get along with the mother in law. Sitting far away on a remote post the immediate world around the soldier may be perceived by him to be within his control but not the world around his home where the problems affect him much more. In his post or on patrol he can still share his immediate concern about safety with his buddy or his superior but sharing home based problems is a greater challenge. Marital problems are one dimension, property problems in rural areas and absence at crucial moments when something legal is involved can be extremely stressful. While leave policy of units is always liberal and the government has sanctioned two free trips home with other trips at concessional rates it is a question of timing. Everyone cannot be away from duty at harvest time or during festivals and that is a problem which the units minimize through whatever they can do to compensate.

The experience of western armies has been the inability of returning soldiers to merge in society; that is a form of PTSD or an effect. Loss of partners while they were away, inability to concentrate on jobs, fits of anger and regret due to unpalatable actions in dealing with aliens and innocents in way off lands, etc; all add to the terrible isolation that individual citizens feel in developed societies. That is the saving grace of Indian society where despite prickly problems of farmer suicides or rural poverty there is family and societal support for those who are away serving the nation. It may all disappear in due course and the mishandling of OROP may very well contribute to the soldier’s dwindling confidence in the support system which Indian society and family system continues to provide.

More than anything else the psychological well-being of soldiers is contingent upon the efficient functioning of the Regimental system of the Indian Army. To a visiting DG of a CAPF I strongly recommended a day be spent with an RR unit. This was in response to his query as to what makes an RR unit tick and achieve so much. He was kind to take my advice, spent a day at Baramula and then rang me up to say that he had got the answer. Bonding of the cap badge and the lanyard has been taken by the Indian Army to such a high level that camaraderie is natural; a soldier’s problems, from womb to tomb (notwithstanding stray cases of neglect of widows reported once in a while) are the unit’s problems. There has been much talk of diluting the Regimental system; the British could not help it and had to compromise with theirs due to downsizing. They taught us what Regimentation means; today the Indian Army can teach them a few lessons in psychological strengthening of soldiers through the Regimental system.

It is not all rosy. Society is changing very rapidly in India. The haloed identity of the soldier is being hugely compromised by the needless rancor over OROP which the government should consider a sensible investment in the social stability of the armed forces. The unfortunate thing in India is that decision makers have very little idea about the profession of arms, perceiving it to be a contractual profession; the soldier's functioning is as yet not contractual but with the complete lack of understanding in a fast changing society all that differentiates the Indian Army from western armies may well collapse. That will be a sad day indeed and a rebirth for Indian military sociology.

No comments:

Post a Comment

 

Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal