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Secularism and the Army

Secular credentials of the Indian Army have been established beyond doubt in the 68 years since independence. An indicator is that in any communal riot, the arrival of the army immediately instills confidence amongst all parties to the dispute irrespective of their denomination. Whether it was 1984, 1992 or 2002, it was the deployment of the army that brought a swift end to communal riots. To truly understand the nature of secularism in the army, one has only to visit a unit celebrating any festival. All ranks, irrespective of religion, partake equally in the celebrations. Therefore, to anyone who is familiar with the ethos of the Army, the recent article in press “Maulvi in Army censured for saying Jai Hind” sounds obviously discordant. To understand the probable cause and effect … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military

ACR 360

ACR 360

Improving the internal health of the Army was a key challenge identified for himself by the present chief when he assumed office two years back. How far has he been able to address the problem remains to be seen in the absence of any indications, either in open media, or through the grapevine. While it would be illuminating to learn the steps (if any) taken by the organisation towards meeting this challenge, here are some … Read entire article »

Filed under: Appraisal System, Blogitorial, COAS, Military, Reforms

Brand Army

Brand Army

“Capt Avinash Rathod, ek soldier ke nazar kabhi neechi nahi honi chahiye” (roughly translated – a soldier must never look down) – says the lissome model in the latest Airtel ad on TV. The ad is well made, and effectively showcases the possibilities of the 3G network in bringing people together like never before. But what it is indirectly doing is riding on one of the strongest, most recognizable, but also most under-leveraged brand in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Media, Military, Shortage of officers

Deaf, Blind…. and Dumb?

Age catches up with all of us. And it is ruthless. It wreaks havoc on our systems and faculties, tormenting us with numerous afflictions. One used to believe that Father Time is by and large fair and unbiased, in that he is uniformly harsh with all. But events of recent past have left us wondering whether he picks out a few people for being especially nasty to. Some people whom he repeatedly tortures. First it was the case of sudden deafness due to exposure to loud noises. Obviously it had something to do with age catching up. Someone who would have spent at least 10-15 years of his early service in the close vicinity of guns firing during practice camps can’t go deaf all of a sudden after hearing a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Military, Ponderings, Values

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Image via Wikipedia One would hate to be in the shoes of the Chief of Army Staff these days. Having to wake up every morning dreading what bombshell the newspapers would bring can’t be a pleasant experience. Being at the helm of an organisation consisting of over 10, 00,000 bodies in this age of scandal hungry public and an ever obliging media, this is a cross that he perhaps has to bear. The sad part is that the antics of a few black sheep with unbridled libido, greed or ambition inevitably overshadow the sterling work done by the other 99.9% comprising the organisation. The latest scandal screaming at us from the headlines and ubiquitous red ticker tapes of breaking news is yet another such incident. Details of the case are under investigation, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Appraisal System, Blogitorial, Media, Military, Ponderings, Promotion System, Reforms, Values

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

Mandalisation of the Army

Image by Christian Haugen via Flickr Ajai Shukla’s article ‘Soldier Heal Thyself’ in Business Standard talks about ‘Mandalisation’ of the Army as one of the many ills that ail its appraisal and promotion systems. The previous Blogitorial on this Blog had also spoken of the urgent requirement of overhauling these. I would like to dwell a little further on the ‘pro rata’ policy responsible for this ‘Mandalisation’ – the background, possible reasons, and its impact. Prior to the introduction of this policy, the Combat Arms i.e. Armoured Corps, Infantry and Mechanised Infantry comprised the ‘General Cadre’, with no distinction amongst them for promotional vacancies. Selected officers from Combat Support Arms like Artillery, Engineers and Signals, based on merit, were also given the option to join the general cadre, giving them the opportunity … Read entire article »

Filed under: Appraisal System, Blogitorial, Military, Ponderings, Promotion System, Reforms

Challenges Before the New Army Chief

Image by jeffjose via Flickr Modernisation is main challenge for new army chief says this article. And there is no doubt that a great deal of his energies will be spent in this high priority area. The delays in procurement of equipment have received adequate press in the last few years. Interestingly, the outgoing chief had also spelt this out as his primary goal on taking over in Oct 2007, as had his predecessor in Jan 2005. The fact that this continues to be a major challenge points to the plethora of ponderables and imponderables that make the modernisation process so complex. But modernisation of the force in terms of induction of state of the art equipment is only one facet of preparing to face the challenges of the future battlefield. Another … Read entire article »

Filed under: Appraisal System, Blogitorial, Military, Ponderings, Reforms, Shortage of officers, Values