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Is Army's profile changing?
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Lt Gen Harwant Singh | Date:04 Jun , 2012 4 Comments
Lt Gen Harwant Singh
Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff. He also commanded a corps in J&K.

The incidence of ill discipline in an artillery unit at Nyoma field firing ranges in the Ladakh sector has drawn nation wide attention. While some of the TV channels went ballistic in over playing the incident, the police too has come out with its own version. This incident took place within the precinct of a military unit where no civilians were involved nor was the police called in by the army. So why this police report! Military has its own means of investigation and a judicial system and law which can adequately deal with far more serious cases. It is never military’s wont to push any case of ill discipline, malfeasance etc under the carpet.

In the prevailing climate of loot and plunder, state of lawlessness, malfeasance right across the  national scene, military has strived hard to maintain its value system by creating a sort of rampart of ‘do’s and don’ts’ to isolate it from the outside influence.

There are a few disturbing aspects to this incident. A number of officers roughed up a soldier, something never heard of or done and strictly forbidden in the military. On the other hand a group of soldiers went on a rampage and assaulted their officers. Obviously the quality of leadership in the unit was extremely poor on the one hand and lack of discipline amongst ranks on the other.  There is an old and time tested saying that there are no bad units but only bad officers. What it really boils down to is that, leadership in a unit is what determines its performance in all the fields of activity.

Many have argued that military is merely a mirror reflection of society at large. Society where corruption is rampant, right across the national spectrum, cheating and fudging has become a way of life, therefore, military could not remain unaffected.  In the prevailing climate of loot and plunder, state of lawlessness, malfeasance right across the  national scene, military has strived hard to maintain its value system by creating a sort of rampart of ‘do’s and don’ts’ to isolate it from the outside influence.

Now and then this rampart has been under attack from the outside and breaches have appeared but the military has made brave attempts to repair these. It is not to contend that there have been no attempts to damage this wall from the inside. There have been cases of corruption, misconduct, false encounters and cheating, cutting right across the rank structure. But the military has been quick to deal firmly with all such cases. Now the very top ranking officers have made a concerted assault from the inside on this rampart of military stronghold of value system and probity.  Call it ‘Adarsh scam.’  Even Supreme Commander of the armed forces, forsaking the very propriety of the act, tried to grab military’s land in Pune. What a fall, my comrades-in-arm!

During the last few decades the composition and complexity of manpower intake, both of officer class and the rank and file has undergone a sea change. There has been, what is fashionable to call, inclusive growth. During the early nineteen eighties, army headquarters ordered a study under the overall chairmanship of Central Army Commander to review the recruitment and the system of selection for entry into the officer cadre.

…the  selection process had stood the test of time, military career as such had become less attractive with the result that lesser number of suitable candidates had been opting to join  the officer cadre. Consequent to this development there was discernable tinkering with the selection process.

I headed the committee to validate the officer selection system. Though, the  selection process had stood the test of time, military career as such had become less attractive with the result that lesser number of suitable candidates had been opting to join  the officer cadre. Consequent to this development there was discernable tinkering with the selection process to make up alarming deficiencies in the officer cadre of the army.

The officer selection process is based on a triad system of evaluation. In this system three different techniques are applied over a period of four to five days, to assess a candidate. When these three techniques are applied correctly, they are expected to produce the same results, thus reinforcing the selection process three times over. In other words, the techniques, namely, psychological tests, group testing method and the interview should, when applied diligently, produce the same result. It also eliminated the possibility of fudging the result by an operator of any of the three techniques without being found out. When applied correctly it is the most comprehensive and authentic selection process devised so far: anywhere, in any army.

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4 thoughts on “Is Army’s profile changing?

  1. the babus and mantris broke the backbone of the armed forces officercorps with poor pay salaries and living and working conditions .The generals further eroded the officer corps by encouraging courtiers , double standards and living of the land with every thing free from public and non publicfunds and outright stealing and plundering . What we see today whether generals giving false statements to steal houses meant for kargilwidows , medicines scams dal , and meat scams , diseal and pols scams . The moral character and fibre of the armed forces is no better than the babus and mantris . The middle and junior rank officers are hard pressed . nobody is happy and smiling . The stress frustration is further compounded by lack of promotions and general standards prevailent outside . The shortages in junior ranks leave no time for any training , leadership , games or COMRADESHIP . THE OFFICER SOLDER BEING FROM THE SAME LOW MIDDLE CLASS VILLAGES TOWNS AND KASBAS ARE FRUSTRATED AND HAVE NOBODY TO LOOKUP TO . WITH GENERALS READY TO SLAUGHTER EACH OTHER FOR CARRYING OVER THEIR OWN SET AGENDAS WITH COLOR CASTE RELIGION , BATTALLION CONSIDERATIONS THE ARMED FORCES ARE ON A DOWNWARD SLIDE UNLESS A 360 DEGREES REVIEW OF ALL ASPECTS FROM SELECTION TO RETIREMENT AND SETTLEMENT IS DONE . THE BABUS MANTRIS AND EVEN THE GENERALS WILL WANT STATUS QUO . THE EAGLE EYES OF PAKISTAN AND THE BELLIGERANT SCALING OUT BY THE CHINESE SHOULD OPEN THE EYES WHERE THE SWORD WILL SWING . LEST WE FORGET THE ARMED FORCES NOMORE MAKE GENERALS LIKE LATE FIELD MARSHAL CARRIAPA , HIMMATSINGH , FIELD MARSHAL MANEKSHAW AND MANY PREPARTITION ONES WHO BROUGHT FAME AND GLORY TO THE UNIFORM THEY WORE .TODAY WE SEE RENT SEEKERS , COMMISSION AGENTS , ARMS DALALS AND A UNWORTHY LOT WHO DONT FADE BUT VANISH THE DAY THEY RETIRE AND NO BODY BOTHERS OR RECOGNISES THEM .

  2. Sir, I agree with the gist of the article that poor quality officers are now joining the army & worse, getting command of Battalions & Regiments. I wish that the author had done a demographic sort of a survey of the NDA & IMA & the preference of the cadets nowdays. When I studied at the Army Public School [ & subsequently at AFMC-Pune ] i found great enthusiasm among my class & scoolmates to join the Army via NDA & IMA..Mostly, they gave Preference for the Arms [Armoured & infantry ]. The toppers got Armoured, infantry & Artillery & the bottom rung got The Services like ASC,AOC etc..But nowdays cadets are giving 1st preference to Army Supply corps & ordnance where they can make money.The result is that second rung officers are joining the arms & poor quality of commanding officers of battalions & regiments [ They further watch in envy as the ” Bright ASC Guys ” make money & also start falling prey to the money syndrome ]. Even some flag officers & generals are turning out to be of poor quality..It will not be an exaggeration to say that some GOC’s would be better called as DOC’s [Dacoit officer commanding ] the way they pilfer Regimental /Unit funds, do scams,take bribes & commisions,do black marketeering of Army items etc etc.

  3. I am completely with the authorities in the matter, and I know that it must have been extremely difficult, to take the ultimate decision taken. This incident was beyond my comprehension. I really don’t know, if any action should have been taken.

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