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Is the Indian Army in Danger of Being Politicised?

The following article appeared in The Quint. Original can be accessed here. Gen Dalbir Suhag, the present army chief is due to retire at the end of this month. However, in a surprising break from past practice, the name of his replacement has not yet been announced. As things stand, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, the present Eastern Army Commander, is the senior most on the day the Gen Suhag retires, and going by the precedence, he should have been named as the next chief by now. Appointment of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as the Chief of Pakistan army was in the news on both sides of the border for the past few days. It was announced just three days before Gen Raheel Sharif retired, and the new incumbent took over the reins … Read entire article »

Filed under: Civil Military Relations, COAS, Military, Politics

Flawed DNA?

Flawed DNA?

Delays in defence procurements and the resultant lack of preparedness have received much attention ever since the Army Chief’s secret letter to the Prime Minister was leaked to the media recently. The alarming status of induction of desperately required weapons and equipment have been topics of discussion in print and electronic media, Internet forums, and more importantly, in the parliament itself. The MoD and the Army Headquarters hold each other responsible for the delays. The … Read entire article »

Filed under: Civil Military Relations, Higher Defence Management, Politics, Reforms

Sab theek hai sahib

Sab theek hai sahib

The Indian soldier, or Jawan as he is affectionately called, is known for not cribbing under the most adverse circumstances. If you ask your driver who has been waiting well past his lunch time for you to emerge from a long conference in the formation headquarters, “Khana Khaya?”, he is sure to say “Haan Sahib”. Of course, when you question him closely he might confess that he hasn’t. But he will also hasten to assure … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Civil Military Relations, Equipment, Military, Politics, Values

Casus Belli Aching

Just when commentators were concluding that Gen VK Singh will be remembered for posterity as the Chief who went to court for getting ten more months in office, the General has yet again managed to spring a surprise. Going public with allegations that he was offered Rs 14 Crore as bribe for accepting sub-standard vehicles for the army, he is back in headlines. While he did not go as far as naming the perpetuators of the tantalizing offer, a recent official press release by the Army claimed that the offer was made by a retired Lt Gen on behalf of a PSU and a foreign firm. The release also claimed that the recent stories about communication interception equipment being used without authorization by the Army in the capital have been … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Civil Military Relations, COAS, Military, Values

Another Open Letter to COAS

Another Open Letter to COAS

Dear General, A lot of ink has flown since my last open letter to you of 1st July 2011. Some of it on papers passing through desks of MoD, some on the Public Interest Litigation submitted to Supreme Court, and a lot of it on national dailies and tabloids. The air waves are also agog with speculation and discussions on what your next action is going to be. Amidst all this, I take the liberty of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Civil Military Relations, COAS, Military

The Canteen Brouhaha

The Comptroller and Auditor General recently carried out the ‘Performance Audits’ of Canteen Stores Department and of the Supply Chain Management of Ration Supplies in the Army. Incidentally, these are two separate audits, and DO NOT relate to “Irregularity in Supply of rations through CSD” as most of the newspapers are erroneously reporting. The audit reports in question have been in news because they have led to the summoning of the Service Chiefs by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee – something unprecedented, as per the same news reports. The newspapers are very sketchy about the actual findings / recommendations of the reports – those interested in reading more about them can access them HERE (Rations) and HERE (CSD) . While the aspect of irregularities in supply of rations brooks no argument – … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Civil Military Relations, CSD, Military, Welfare

Mahabharat over Arjun

Image via Wikipedia A lot has been written on the whipping given by our very own home-grown battle tank Arjun to that upstart of a Russian import T 90, in recently concluded comparative trials between the two. More muted are the voices about the Army’s dissatisfaction with Arjun. Passions often run high between the unfortunate adversaries in this drama, who rightfully should be on the same side of the fence. On one side is the user – the Army. At stake for the Army, if the tank fails to perform as promised, are possible lost battles and wars, own casualties and loss of reputation. On the other side is the developer – the DRDO, who feels its professional competence and reputation hinges on the acceptability of the tank, after taking a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Civil Military Relations, Equipment, Military, Tanks

Internal Deficiencies?

Image by baxiabhishek via Flickr Assistant Commandant GP Singh of CRPF has written a letter to the Army Chief, expressing his ‘annoyance’ at the latter’s remarks in the aftermath of the Dantewala massacre. As per an item in the Pioneer newspaper, the officer citing limited success of several joint operations of the Army and CRPF in Punjab, J&K, North East and Sri Lanka, opines that such failures are not due to training deficiencies, but other reasons.  He talks about the Chief’s remarks ‘disturbing his inner soul’. He goes on to say that “every organisation has merits and deficiencies.” A positive view of the emotional outpouring of the officer is that such feeling of loyalty and ‘josh’ for one’s outfit is an extremely good sign. Pride for one’s unit and organisation is a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Audacity, Blogitorial, Civil Military Relations, Military

Send in the Cavalry

Image by kinshuksunil via Flickr Army called in… to hold the Commonwealth Games, says a front page story in today’s Indian Express. Why isn’t it surprising? With six months to go and national pride at stake, with the panic mounting as the somnolent government and Organising Committee finally see the writing on the wall (which was apparent to everyone else long ago), who else to turn to? The only organisation in the country that has the track record of delivering every time, irrespective of what it was that was asked of it, or at what stage. Going a little beyond the obvious, into the crevices and folds of the issue. As per the report, ‘South Block’ is planning to attach over 300 officers, including 10 Brigadiers and 245 Lt Cols. Largest number … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Civil Military Relations, Military, Shortage of officers