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What if Nehru was still the PM in 65?

Barely three years after facing a humbling if not humiliating defeat at the hands of Chinese PLA, the Indian army was to be put to test again in 1965, this time with confrontation brewing on the western borders. But there was one major difference. This time, instead of a supposed statesman of immense stature, we had an unassuming Prime Minister with political stature to match his diminutive size. Lal Bahadur Shastri, who had taken over after Nehru’s death in 1964, was a political lightweight and a compromise candidate for premiership. Yet, as the outcome of this war clearly demonstrated, its the decisions taken by a leader, and not his stature or personalty which matter in times of such crises. In April 1965, when Pakistan launched its provocative though low level … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military, Politics

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

An open letter to the COAS

Dear General, As the head of an organization like the Indian Army, you represent many things to many people. To the serving officers and soldiers, you are a role model. To them, you stand for excellence of the highest order.  You withstood the vagaries of operations and peacetime soldiering successfully, with elan, to reach the pinnacle of the steep pyramid. In doing so, you outshone a few thousand officers who were commissioned around the same time as you. As their Chief and leader, they hang on to your every word. They do that because of the tremendous respect that your office enjoys. They also do that because your decisions virtually control the destiny of this million strong army. Your actions and words impact them professionally and personally. Since they were always taught … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, COAS, 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

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